Armenians’ atrocities against the Turkic-Muslim population of the South Caucasus after the fall of tsarism and the October coup (1917 - 1920)
a) The part of the Special Investigation commission in exposing
the genocide and Armenians’ conspiracy against Turkic-Muslims
Established by the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the Special Investigation commission and the Organization for combating counter-revolution played a major role in investigating acts of violence by Armenians over the Turkic-Muslim population of the South Caucasus in 1917-1920. During 1917-1920, Armenians are believed to have committed unseen for their cruelty in human history killings, massacres, burnings, terroristic and the other acts of violence in all possible places of the South Caucasus where Turkic-Muslims lived. In the state archives of our Republic there are a number of documents created as a result of the Special Investigation commission’s activity, established by the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic on July 15, 1918, and related to the Organization for combating counter-revolution’s activity under the State Defence Committee, the first security body in Azerbaijan, established on June 11, 1919. These documents preserve detailed information on our people’s sufferings and misery caused by Armenians in Baku, Shamakha, Kuba, Zangazur and in the other towns and uyezds.
In Ganja, on 15 July 1918, at the session of the Government, the aim of which was to make a decision about establishment of the Special Investigation commission, the Minister for Foreign Affairs M.H.Hajinski stated, that “it’s been 4 months as the Armenian military units and the other troops beyond any control disguised as Bolsheviks have committed horrible atrocities against the people and property of the Muslim civilian population. At the same time, the public opinion of Europe is getting entirely opposite, due to the false information sent by bands’ organizers. For the national benefit, in the interest of affected groups of the population it is necessary to establish an organization the functions of which will include: 1) an accurate registration of all cases of violence; 2) determination of the circumstances in which the acts of violence were committed; 3) identifying perpetrators and the amount of damages”.
The speaker also suggests – “the commission’s proceedings are to be publicized in the main European languages (Russian, French and German and, certainly, in Turkish)”. After long discussions the Government of the Republic issued a decree “About establishment of the Special investigation commission for investigation of the acts of violence committed over Muslims and their property across the whole Transcaucasia since the beginning of the European war”.
On the 31st August of the same year, the Special Investigation commission, consisting of 7 men and chaired by Alakpar bek Khasmamadov, was established at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which later was transferred to the Ministry of Justice. Together with A.Khasmamadov the commission included Y.Shakhmaliyev, A.Novatski, N.Safikyurdski, N.Mikhaylov, V.Qubvillo and M.D.Akhundzadeh.
The investigative material in 6 volumes based on collected by commission records and materials about Armenians’ atrocities committed in Baku, Shamakha, Kuba and in Shamakha, Qoychay, Javad, Kuba, Nukha, Javanshir, Jabrail, Shusha and Zangazur uyezds, together with 95 photos, as visual aids, were sent by commission to the Azerbaijan peace delegation, which had been delegated to Paris, Versailles.
On the basis of the conducted investigation and collected materials, prior to June 4, 1919, the commission had prepared 128 draft regulations for prosecuting the perpetrators, according to which 194 Armenians had to be prosecuted.
By August 27, 1919, collected by commission materials consisted of 36 volumes and 3 500 pages. As a result of the investigation conducted by commission, once the prosecution process of the perpetrators, who took part in violence acts of the Armenians against the Turkic-Muslim population, had started, the Armenian national unions, fraction of the “Dashnaktsyutun” party in the Parliament and the Armenian press in different towns and uyezds rose to defend the Armenians.
Much could be learned about the work of the Organization for combating counter-revolution, the first security body in Azerbaijan, which exposed provocative activity of the Armenian criminals in Baku and in the other areas of the Republic, prevented their attempts in seeking ways to the government of the Republic, exposed Armenians who took part in Baku riots and massacres, achieved their expulsion from the country and prosecuted for their criminal offences.
Summarizing activity of the two organizations, we can conclude that despite the short term of the activity, these organizations, along with exposing Armenian vandalism, had an irreconcilable struggle against internal and external enemies of the young Republic.
b) Genocide and deportation by Armenians of the Turkic-Muslims, living in the areas of the Erivan Governorate and the Armenian Republic.
Genocide and deportation of the Turkic-Muslims, who lived in the areas of the Erivan Governorate and the Armenian Republic, at first from the Erivan Governorate and then from the Armenian Republic, which was founded in May 1918, the policy of “scorched earth” and “ethnic cleansing” being conducted against our people, had only one goal. The goal was to pave the way for “establishing Greater Armenia”.
On statistics of the Russian Empire, particularly, according to the annual information guide “Caucasian calendar”, across the territory of the present Armenian Republic, even after Russia’s resettlement policy, the Azerbaijani population constituted a majority. For instance, in 1886, out of 539 thousand population of the Erivan Governorate - 211 thousand (39,2 %) were Turkic-Muslims, in 1896, out of 14.7 thousand population of the Erivan city – 7.2 thousand (49 %) were Turkic-Muslims, 7.1 thousand (48 %) were Armenians. From 99 thousand men of the Erivan uyezd 52.8 thousand (53.5 %) were Turkic-Muslims, 36.4 thousand (48.4 %) were Armenians.
As to January 1, 1916, the ratio of the Armenian and the Azerbaijani population in the region, even if it had changed, it had happened definitely due to the impacts of the first world war and military operations in the Caucasus, nevertheless the Turkic-Muslims in the Erivan Governorate were 74.2 thousand men (48 %), in the Zangazur uyezd 119.5 thousand men (53.3 %), in the Sourmaly uyezd 45.9 thousand men (43.9 %) and in Novo-Bayazet uyezd 50.7 thousand (29.2 %).
Following the October revolution, in 1917, by withdrawal of the Soviet Russia from the war, the Armenians, fighting against the Ottoman Empire on Russia’s side in the Caucasus, together with their weapons and armament returned to Transcaucasia. Taking advantage of favorable conditions well armed Armenians decided to capture the lands, where the Turkic-Muslims were living. Consequently, armed Armenians till March 1918, had destroyed 199 villages in the Erivan, Sourmaly, Echmiadzin, Novo-Bayazet uyezds, killed violently and expelled 135 thousand Muslims, who were living there.
Despite the fact that in the spring of 1918 the Transcaucasian Sejm and the government were established, the members of which were representing three nations, living in the territory of Transcaucasia Armenians, led by the party “Dashnaktsyutun”, implemented large-scale policies of genocide against the Turkic-Muslim population not only in the territory of the Erivan Governorate, but in the Baku and Yelizavetpol Governorates, too. Raising the issue at the meetings of the Sejm, warnings made by the Muslim fraction of the Transcaucasian Sejm to the Armenian representatives had no results. The Muslim fraction of the Sejm often had discussions on the issues, thereby alerting Armenians. The minutes of the fraction meetings are evidence.
Following Georgia’s withdrawal from the Transcaucasian Sejm and its declaration of independence on May 26, 1918, for discussion of this situation, on May 27, the representatives of all Muslim fractions of the Sejm held an emergency meeting. Speaking at the meeting N.B.Usubbekov, who had just come from the Batumi conference, reported that, in the view of the Turkish delegation, “keystones to Transcaucasia’s prosperity are Transcaucasian peoples’ solidarity and unity and for this we should make territorial compromises to Armenians”.
On May 29, 1918, the second meeting of the Muslim National council chaired by Q.Aqayev was held. At the meeting a crucial issue for our people was being discussed, the issue which to this very day has caused serious disputes, different opinions and commentaries over it – the issue on the cession of Erivan to Armenians, as Armenia’s political centre. Making speech F.Kh.Khoysky, the chairman of the new Azerbaijan government, stated that after Alexandropol’s transfer to Turkey, Erivan’s cession to Armenia is inevitable. On this issue Kh.Khasmamadov, M.Y.Jafarov. A.Sheykhulislamov and M.Maqarramov also expressed their points of view. They accepted Erivan’s cession to Armenians as a historical necessity, but yet as an inevitable evil. The proposal had 16 voices out of the 28 members of the Council and it was adopted.
Across the territory of newly created Armenian Republic, the Turkic-Muslim population’s plight had further discussions at the meetings of the National Council on June 1, 7 and 13, in Tiflis. On June 13, the member of the Council, Ibraqim aqa Vekilov, making speech at the meeting, reported that the starving and almost naked refugees’ number is 150 thousand in the territory of the Erivan Governorate. His final speech was concerning the number of the injured ones and the 206 ruined villages.
In May, 1918, following the collapse of the Sejm, when some Transcaucasian independent republics were established, in fact, the territory of the Armenian Republic consisted of two uyezds Erivan and Echmiadzin with a population of 40 thousand people, the most part of which were Muslims.
By mid-June 1918, which is before the Turkish army’s arrival to Azerbaijan, as the people were weaponless the Armenians had occupied and ruined the Turkic-Muslim villages of the South Caucasus with killing and expelling the villagers. Once the Turkish army arrived to the territory and the Caucasian Islamic army was created together with Azerbaijanis, and after conducting some operations, we can say that from June till October 1918, that is, before the Moudross agreement, which was signed between Great Britain and The Ottoman Empire, the Turkic-Muslim population of the South Caucasus hadn’t been attacked seriously by Armenians. The Turkish forces withdrawal from the South Caucasus, in October 1918, brought to new waves of aggression again.
The archive documents with undeniable facts demonstrate the unseen atrocities of the Armenian dashnak bandits, committed by them not only across Armenia, but also in Azerbaijan, in 1918-1920. Hundreds of letters, allegations, telegrams, which were addressed to the Parliament of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, to the government, from Zangazour, Nakhichevan, Ordubad and the other places, were describing in detail Armenians’ atrocities against the Turkic-Muslim population, about its troubles and sufferings. On January 4, 1919, T.Makinski in his letter on behalf of the Muslim population of the Erivan Governorate was writing: “Since December 1917 till June 1918, by Armenian military forces in the Erivan Governorate more than 200 Muslim villages were ruined and set on fire, a part of the population was killed, and the other part died of hunger and cold while fleeing in the mountains. After seizing, populated by Muslims, Sourmaly uyezd and partially Erivan, Echmiadzin and Sharursky uyezds, at the present time the Armenian military forces are on the way to Nakhichevan. The innocent Muslims either being killed, or being expelled from their own villages, passing the mountains, run to Iran, they choose the way at the end of which is a true death. The Armenians fleeing from Turkey have been located on violently liberated territories”.
A number of facts taken from the documents and materials of our archives expose the genocide policy, led by Armenian vandals against the Turkic-Muslim population. Refuting the governmental notes of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, which were submitted against the Armenians’ actions, the Dashnak Armenian government tried to prove that there had been no persecution, prejudice against Turkic-Muslims in Armenia, and that only some irresponsible individuals could have witnessed such an attitude. On February 12, 1919, A.Ziatkhanov sent a note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Armenian Republic stating that the Armenian armed forces crossing the borders of the Azerbaijan territory near Lake Geokchay, had destroyed the Muslim villages Qyzyl Venq, Soubatan, Zaqaly, Shakhab and the other villages, where they had killed men and abused women. A refugee from the village Shakhab reported that “in the village Shakhab all the men have been killed, the children have been burnt in the tandirs (a special handmade stove for baking). The eight women of the village have been chosen for abuse, after being abused and disgraced, they’ve been released”. A.Ziatkhanov’s note stated that “the atrocities like these weren’t committed by irresponsible individuals, but by military forces”.
The notes led to nowhere and on February 24, 1919, A.Ziatkhanov addressed to General Thomson, the Commander of the allied forces in Baku, informing him about the Armenian military forces’ violence against the Azerbaijani people in the Novo-Bayazet uyezd and a capture of some parts of Azerbaijani territory. In the letter there was an appeal to V.Thomson “to propose seriuosly to the government of the Armenian Republic to liberate violently occupied district of the Novo-Bayazet uyezd from the south-east of Lake Geokchay and the parts of the Kazakh uyezd, the important parts of the Azerbaijani territories, from uncontrolled Armenian forces.”
It’s emotional to read an appeal made on 26 March 1919 at the general meeting of the 26 Azerbaijani villages of the Novo-Bayazet uyezd to the government of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and to the people. The appeal states: “The troops of the Ararat Republic, local Armenians, and together with them Armenian chauvinists and dashnak bandits, by attacking Muslim civilians’ villages continuously, ruin them, making people suffer and abusing them. More than 270 Muslim villages have been ruined and the main goal is the massive expulsion of all the Muslim population from the Erivan Governorate that lives there! Muslim Brothers! This is the last we are asking you to consider our hopelessness and help us as much as you can. Don’t let tyrants, chauvinists and dashnaks kill the 60 thousand miserable Muslims living in the Erivan Governorate”.
On April 22, 1919, the bailiff from the 5th site, the Gandja Governorate, wrote to the chief of the Gandja uyezd: “The Armenian regular army during April 13 -21, attacking civilian Muslims in Geokcha, ruined 21 villages with the population of approximately 60 thousand people, not sparing women and children, brutally shot dead them with cannon projectiles… From Javanshir till the Kazakh uyezd, on snowy passes bordering with Azerbaijan, a terrifying picture has emerged. This area is covered with the dead and injured people’s bodies, who fled from the Novo-Bayazet uyezd and were chased by the Armenian army, bodies of miserable, assaulted, abused and robbed victims… ”.
In spite of the fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Azerbaijan Republic concerning the issue informed the allied forces’ commander in Tiflis, the diplomatic representative of the Azerbaijan government in Armenia M.Tekinsky sent notes several times to the government of Armenia and Armenia’s dashnak government rejected completely the statements concerning the Turkic-Muslim population’s killing and expulsion from homelands, we, however, possess a great number of documents and materials that demonstrate a consistent continuation of the process. The Armenian government rejected even requests of the allied command relating the issue, by calling brazenly all this - the myths of the Azerbaijan Republic.
During a short period of time, August 17 – 31, 1919, Armenia’s administrative bodies robbed and killed nearly 50 Muslim villages of Echmiadzin, Sourmaly, Erivan and Novo-Bayazet uyezds. The administrative bodies’ atrocity of that kind made the Armenians themselves, particularly, the members of the Armenian parliament from the social-revolutionary party, to address to the parliament with a request of the following content: “Mister Chairman of the Parliament! We ask You to pose these questions to the Minister of internal affairs. Is Mr. Minister aware of the fact that in the territory of the Armenian Republic, in the Erivan, Echmiadzin, Sourmaly uyezds some tatar (Azerbaijani – A. P.) villages, for example, Pashakand, Dallyar, Pourpour, Iydeli, Qarkhoun, Kolany and others, were ruined, robbed and cleaned from the tatar (Azerbaijani – A. P.) population”.
It was further stated in the request: “The local administrative bodies not even tried to prevent this, but they themselves took part at those robberies and made chaos. Those events had made a great terrifying impression on a local population. They can’t stand violence, robberies, they want to live in peace with their neighbors and they demand to bring to justice and punish the perpetrators who still stay unpunished”.
However, the Armenian government, ruled by the “Dashnaktsyutun” party, up to its fall was running the policy of “scorched earth” and “ethnic cleansing” in the territory of the Ararat Republic against the Azerbaijani Turks. Following the fall of the dashnaks government in Armenia and establishment of the Soviet power, the Armenian dashnaks ran this policy in a hidden way under the guise of communists.
c) Massacre in Baku
In 1918-1920, in Transcaucasia and also in all Azerbaijan, the Armenians committed massive acts of violence, killings, robberies and terror acts against the Azerbaijanis. Events of 1918 had started the same way as the events of 1905, from the city of Baku.
In October, 1917, as the power in Russia had been taken over by Bolsheviks and Russia had chosen not to participate in the World War I, the Armenian soldiers and officers, fighting at the Caucasus frontline on Russia’s side, started to return to the South Caucasus with a huge amount of weapons and armament, flocking to the proletarian Baku. Meanwhile, appointed by V.Lenin, inspired by dashnaks the Transcaucasian Commissioner S.Shaumian arrived in Baku to take power in his hands. Only under S.Shaumian’s leadership the Baku Commune, together with the Armenian military troops that had returned from the frontline and gathered in Baku, started to carry out massacre of our people, in March, 1918, which soon covered all Azerbaijan.
Concerning the massacre that had been lasting for three days (from March 30, 31 till April 1) in Baku, initiated by S.Shaumian and his comrades-in-arms, dashnaks masked as Bolsheviks, on April 13 of the same year, in his letter to Moscow to the Council of People’s Commissars Shaumian tried to prove that the cause of massacre hadn’t been a national hostility of Armenians to Azerbaijanis, but their devotion to the Soviet power. He wrote: “On the one side the soviet Red Guards were fighting, the international Red Army organized by us, the Red Navy, which we managed to create during a short period of time, and the Armenian national troops (A.P.), on the other side the Muslim wild division and armed Muslim bandit troops were fighting, led by the party “Musavat” and including many Russian officers (A.P.)”.
It’s clear from the report how cowardly behaved Shaumian in this case. In the letter Armenians are shown as “real doves of peace”, whereas Muslims are shown as absolute bloodthirsty bandits. In addition, Shaumyan tried to frighten Moscow by telling that the Muslim national parties, strengthening their positions in Yelizavetpol and Tiflis, “were acting in a very aggressive way even in Baku … If they had prevailed in Baku, the city would have been declared as a capital of Azerbaijan and all the non-Muslim troops would have been disarmed and destroyed”.
Justifying the chaos he was stating insolently: “The national troops’ participation (that is of the Armenians’ – A.P.) turned a civil war partially into a national massacre. The Muslim poor have suffered much, now at least they stand together with the Bolsheviks and the Soviet Union”.
There is a huge amount of documents and materials concerning the Baku tragedy, collected by the Special Investigation commission. Most facts and figures contradict to those that were reported by Shaumian to Moscow. The casualties on both of the sides weren’t 3 thousand men, as it was noted by him in his letter, but only from the Muslim side the casualties together with physical damage were more than 11 thousand men.
A 19 years old young man, a witness of the massacre, who lost his father and close relatives Maqomad Mouradzadeh has described these events in the book “March khadisei-alimesi”, published by him in 1919. Here he drew attention to the facts and statements and gave his personal opinion on the situation thereby once more exposing S.Shaumian. After declaring ceasefire, the women, old men and children, who had been captured and locked at the cinemas by Armenians, were released and on their way home they were mocked like: “Asma… Well, could you own the Caucasus?” from Armenians standing at their gates. M.Mouradzadeh wrote about that: “Enemy mockeries like these were bitter but true. As we could do nothing we have to bow our heads to a wild strong nation that is in minority”.
Together with Baku, during March-May of 1918, the massacre of Azerbaijanis was committed by Armenians in the towns of Shamakha and Kuba, and also in Arash, Geokchay uyezds and in other places.
d) Massacre in Shamakha
The most terrifying massacre, following Baku in the Baku Governorate, was committed by Armenians in the town of Shamakha and in the villages of the Shamakha uyezds. It is noteworthy that the massacre in Shamakha, and later in Kuba was committed by armed dashnak troops, sent there by the soviet power, directly by the leaders of the Baku Commune S.Shaumian and Q.Korqanov. In the letter to V.Lenin, on 13 April 1918, S.Shaumian reported about sending “new troops” with artillery and guns to Shamakha. These troops were headed by S.Lalayan, Shaumian’s closest comrade in arms and one of the main initiators of the Baku massacre.
7 volumes out of 925 pages of investigation materials (reports, victims and witness’ questioning minutes, uyezd and police chiefs’ information, acts concerning damages, the number of killed and injured ones), collected by the Special Investigation commission, once more demonstrate Armenians’ atrocity.
Armed dashnak troops’ main purpose, led by S.Lalayan, who’d been sent to Shamakha by S.Shaumian’s order, was to clean the Shamakha uyezd from bandits and, by putting an end to anarchy at the uyezd, to restore security in the territory. The troop promised to move to Madrasa village, on March 15, passing by Shamakha. As soon as the Muslims, watching their houses on the edge of the town, saw the troop, they thought it could be an attack and opened fire. The troop started to shoot in response. Soon shooting took the whole town. Consequently, both sides suffered casualties. However, the representatives of the three nations, living in the town (Azerbaijanis, Armenians and Russians), could get together and swear to live in peace and not to break the law and order.
As soon as the troop leaders, sent by Shaumian, heard about the agreement they stated that “the Muslim priesthood can reconcile with the Armenian priesthood, but the Armenian people want war against Muslims and England is their supporter in the issue”.
Glad with the made decision the Azerbaijani population of Shamakha was woken up by gunshots in the morning of March 18. The downtown populated by Azerbaijanis was being shot from guns and machineguns by Armenians and Molokans. In a few hours after the attack the Armenians and Molokans could enter the Azerbaijani part of the town. During the attack they were robbing the Azerbaijanis’ houses, ruining, burning them and slaughtering the civilians. According to the reports of the Special Investigation commission in Shamakha several thousand Azerbaijanis were killed by Armenians. Among the killed there were many respected personalities, public figures, well-known not only in Shamakha, but in all Azerbaijan. One of them was Mamad Aliyev, a deputy of the first State Duma, a well-known akhund (a priest) Haji Jafarqulu and the others. The Commission in its reports was stating that “the damage to the Azerbaijani population of Shamakha town was estimated at an average of more than 1 billion rubles”.
Inspired by motto “After killing, rob and after robbing, kill”, the Armenians in Shamakha and in the uyezd obsessed with the feelings of national hostility and national revenge to the Azerbaijani people, together with killing peaceful civilians – women, children and old men, they aimed at possessing their properties.
According to A.Novatsky’s report, the member of the commission, concerning Shamakha’s destruction and cases of violence against the Azerbaijani population, on July 12, 1919, the Special Investigation commission announced the main perpetrators of the crimes committed in Shamakha, they were S.Lalayev, who came from Shamakha, living in Baku Qavrila Karaoqlanov, Arshak Gyulbendiyan, Mikhail Arzoumanov, Armenak Martirosyan and the others (31 men). It was noted that these criminals, gathering around themselves several thousand dashnaks, armed with guns, machinegun and knives, during a few days had killed thousands of Azerbaijan civilians, men, women and kids. These murders were committed with particular violence. In Shamakha the Armenians plundered the property for the sum more than 1 billion rubles, burnt and ruined all the houses in the town, which belonged to Azerbaijanis. In the town 13 mosques were burnt, including “Djuma-mosque”, which was a historical monument. By instituting criminal proceedings against the principal perpetrators of the Armenian vandalism, the Commission ordered to start investigation with their following criminal prosecution.
In the Shamakha uyezd, the Armenians ruined, burnt and brutally murdered the population of the 86 Azerbaijani villages. In the documents, acts, concerning the Armenian vandals’ atrocities, made by the Special Investigation commission on the 53 villages in particular, the number of the death toll and damage is indicated.
According to the data, noted in the acts, in general, 8 027 Azerbaijanis, among them 4 190 men, 2 560 women and 1 227 kids were killed by Armenians in the 53 villages of the Shamakha uyezd. As to these acts, the damage caused by Armenians in the villages reached 339.5 billion rubles.
e) Massacre in Kuba
The town of Kuba and the villages of the Kuba uyezd became another region, where S.Shaumian and Q.Korqanov committed mass destructions and killings, as it had happened in the Baku Governorate. Among the documents collected by Special Investigation commission and arranged in 5 volumes by A.Novatsky and the other members of the commission, there are victims and witness’ records of interrogation, reports, inspection protocols of ruined and burnt houses, acts, and lists on the damage suffered by town residents, made up.
The member of the Special Investigation commission A.Novatsky, on December 11, 1918, sent a request to the town governor of Kuba, Aliabbas bek Alibekov, concerning the general state of the town before its being destructed by Armenian dashnaks led by Amazasp, which were sent to Kuba by S.Shaumian and Q.Korqanov on behalf of the Soviet power. On December 12, A.Alibekov in reply reported that in Kuba, before its being destructed by Amazasp’s bandits, there had been nearly 20 thousand people and nearly 10 thousand houses. Armenians’ intolerable outrage lasted for 9 days, beginning from the 1st of May, 1918. Before the events approximately 500 Armenians used to live in Kuba. Aliabbas bek reported that, in March, he paid attention to the fact that many of the Armenians after selling all their movable and immovable properties were leaving. To the question of the reasons for acting like this A.Melikov and Baqdasarov replied: “Something is going to happen between us. That’s why the committee (the committee Dashnaktsyutun – A.P.) has recalled us.”
According to the information given to the member of the Special Investigation commission A.Novatsky by David Qelovany, a Georgian taking part in the Kuba events since its beginning on behalf of the Soviet power, Haji Ismail Orujov, one of the most respected personalities of Kuba, and by a town governor A.Alibekov, it’s getting clear that armed forces of the Baku Commune, the majority of which were dashnaks, arriving in Kuba under D.Qelovany for the first time, declared about establishment of the Soviet power in Kuba. In view of the tense situation the people of Kuba agreed with that.
But soon the troop was attacked by Lezgins and Azerbaijanis of the surrounding villages. Realizing how hard the situation was, the lieutenant Aqadjanyan’s troop left the Armenians, organized in Kuba, to their fate, perhaps, deliberately. D.Qelovani said that his troop had managed to save some left by Aqadjanyan to their fate Armenians, but the rest were killed by Lezgins.
In a few days following the withdrawal of D.Qelovany’s troop from Kuba, at S.Shaumian’s direction Q.Korqanov sent there a killing squad of 2 thousand men headed by Amazasp.
According to A.Alibekov, the town governor of Kuba, Amazasp’s troop, which entered the town on May 1, 1918 from three directions, was armed with 4 cannons and 8 machineguns. In the lower town, making chaos in the town till May 10, just for the first day Amazasp’s troop had killed 713 and on the second day – 1 012 Azerbaijanis.
Reporting on Amazasp’s actions, A.Alibekov told that in the square at the town mosque Amazasp stated: “I am from Arzurum. I’ve been fighting against Turks for a long time. I am in favour of Armenians’ interests. I’ve been sent here by the Soviet power together with a killing squad to avenge the death of the Armenians, who were killed here two weeks ago. You will see the real horror tomorrow, when I climb up to the mountain (at this time he pointed to the mountain, where the cannons were). Tomorrow I’ll climb up to the mountain and will bomb the town, which will be left in ruins”.
Thus, during ten days, sent by S.Shaumian and Q.Korqanov, the Armenian killing squad of Amazasp on behalf of the Soviet power committed terrifying atrocities in Kuba. By the town governor A.Alibekov’s reports, 2 thousand men were killed, but according to molla (a Muslim priest), who was burying the killed, he buried 2 800 men.
It is estimated that in Kuba the property, which had been robbed by Amazasp’s bandits, was approximately 4 million rubles in cash, diamonds, gold, silver and the other jewels on 4,5 million rubles, the carpets and the other household properties on 25 million rubles. Besides this, only in Kuba as the result of destruction and burnings of the houses and the other buildings, the material damage, suffered by the residents, ran into more than 100 million rubles.
On its way Amazasp’s Armenian military troop moving to Kuba ruined and set on fire 122 villages of the Kuba uyezd, killed 60 men, women and children, who couldn’t escape and injured 53 men.
It’s also interesting to note the Kuba town governor A.Alibekov’s report concerning his talks after bloody events in Kuba with Bolshevik leaders S.Shaumian and A.Dzhaparidze in Baku. He wrote that as he had described the atrocities committed by Amazasp’s troops in Kuba, A.Dzhaparidze became very anxious, but S.Shaumian, without hiding his excitement, listened to him and said harshly: “Muslims (Azerbaijanis – A.P.) and Turks killed hundreds of thousands of Armenians, but when Armenians killed in Kuba two Muslims, then Muslims start to complain and cry”.
In A.Novatsky’s report, the Special Investigation commission’s member, it was suggested to initiate criminal proceedings against Amazasp, his assistant Nikolay, the commissioner Venunts, and also against the former residents of the town Kuba, who had taken an active part in the killings and destructions, and not to initiate criminal proceedings against the former commissioners Shaumian and Korqanov for their being dead.
Unfortunately, the April coup of 1920 left unpunished the crimes of such executioners like S.Lalayev, Amazasp and their dashnak adherents and the blood of thousands of Azerbaijanis wasn’t revenged for.
f) Armenians’ acts of atrocity in the Karabakh region.
Karabakh was one of the regions of Azerbaijan which during 1918-1920 had suffered the most horrible atrocities committed by Armenians. In the early 19th century, the Armenians, relocated to these territories by Russians, getting together with the Armenian meliks, who were hostile to Turkic-Muslims, posed a great danger to our people. The armed aggression and Armenians’ claims to Karabakh, which they called as “Lesser Armenia”, increased specially after the February revolution and the October Bolshevik coup in Russia.
The Armenians’ atrocities, headed by dashnaks’ party, against the Turkic-Muslims in Shusha, Dzhavanshir and Dzhabrail uyezds were investigated in detail by the Special Investigation commission, which was established by the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. The Commission collected a great deal of information on the testimony of witnesses and the persons who suffered harm, on the inspection protocols of robbed and ruined locations, on the reports and the official records and etc. made by the uyezd police.
In the report, on the basis of the facts, N.Mikhaylov noted that the Armenians were arming themselves with all their might. However the Muslim population of the Dzhavanshir uyezd, trusting in a naïve way his historical neighbors, Armenians, thought that they were simply trying to ensure the security and had no idea of what it could turn out for them. Thus, the Azerbaijanis had seen several times how the Armenians were bringing weapons from the Yevlakh station and along the Barda highway, but they didn’t consider that “like something crucial”.
Following the state coup in Russia, in October 1917, the weapons, the armament had already been brought openly to the Armenian villages of the Upper Karabakh. And since December 1917, the Armenians had no longer hid their hostile attitude to the Muslims and used to ill-treat them. The Armenians attacked the Azerbaijani villages of the Kolanily community in the Dzhavanshir uyezd and with a demand of subordination to the Armenian Republic, non-existing yet in the world, they collected by force taxes from them for their state.
In the records collected by the Special Investigation Commission it was noted that the members of the Muslim National council of the Dzhavanshir uyezd had several times sent delegations for peace talks to the Armenians. One of the delegates Mashady Alish Ismailov reported to the members of the Special Investigation commission about the fact that the Armenians constantly were threatening, intimidating and offending our delegates. The society chief of the Armenian village Maraqa was threatening: “That is nothing, wait for more”.
Describing the Armenians’ insolence, the witness Iskandarov said that the Armenian troops usually after attacking the territories located by Muslims used to rob their cattle and the next day sell the livestock without any shame at the Tartar market to the same Azerbaijanis, from whom they had robbed the animals.
The Dzhabrail uyezd became one of the territories of Karabakh, which had seen the most extreme violence from Armenians in 1918 and at the beginning of 1919. This uyezd consisted of 12 Azerbaijani and 3 Armenian rural communities. The Azerbaijani villages of the Dzhabrail district were situated, like in the other uyezds of Karabakh, in lowlands. The Armenians knew that if they had started open military operations, they would have lost, that’s why while attacking the foothills of the Azerbaijani villages, they tried to do a lot of damage to them.
It’s interesting that the Muslim population of the lowland, in the Dzhabrail uyezd, didn’t even believe the news concerning the atrocities committed by Armenians in the other districts of Karabakh.
Since the early days of December 1918, the Armenians began a military offensive across the Muslim population of the uyezd. According to this the chief of the Dzhabrail uyezd on February 17, 1919, wrote to the Karabakh General Governor Kh.Soultanov: “The Muslim population of the uyezd seeing all this got very sad and yet they took a passive way of struggle, they just tried to save themselves and their property. They took defensive positions without committing any criminal actions against the Armenians. The fact that not a single Armenian village was damaged by Muslims during that time is the proof of that”.
In December 1918 and early in 1919, the Armenians attacked the Azerbaijani villages Doudoukchy, Ashiq Melikly, Shikhlar, Myulkadarly, Dalanlar, Aqdzhakand, Dolanlar and Akhoully in the Dzhabrail uyezd and committed in each of them unseen terrifying atrocities. They killed innocent children, women and old people, ruined and burnt the villages, robbed the properties and livestock.
Among the most damaged regions of Karabakh, which suffered greatly from the Armenians’ acts of violence, were the Muslim villages of the Shusha uyezd and the town Shusha itself.
The Shusha uyezd borders mostly with the Zangazour uyezd, the local highland and foothill villages are far away from each other and they are surrounded by Armenian villages. By using this location, the Armenians committed here all possible acts of violence. They were well armed and after the October coup in Russia their armament got even better. By monitoring the roads Shusha-Karyagyno and Shusha-Askaran, the Armenians used to attack the Azerbaijanis, who were travelling down the roads, then they robbed them, took their weapons and blocked up all these roads for them.
The Armenians’ actions like these had intensified with the executioner Andranik’s arrival in Gerousy. The town of Shusha and surrounding villages, surrounded by Armenians from all the sides, were really in a difficult situation. In his report the member of the Special Investigation commission Mikhaylov noted that the town Shusha and the Armenian population of the surrounding villages hadn’t recognized the Azerbaijan government and had had no wish to recognize it. Surprisingly, Mikhaylov could figure out exactly the Armenian psychology and their characteristic in his report. He wrote: “Like anywhere else, in the Shusha uyezd the Armenians remain true to their tactics. In the places, where they are in the majority, they commit appalling atrocities in relation to the other peoples. And there, where they are in the minority, they are ready to serve to whom you want and the way you want”.
The Armenians’ atrocities, which had been committed in the town of Shusha, villages - Qoqo, Touq, Atmazly, Qeshtmazly, Qazanly - and in the other villages of the Shusha uyezd, were thoroughly analyzed in the records of the Special Investigation commission, and it was noted that only in the Shusha uyezd, in ruined and burnt Azerbaijani villages, the death toll were more than 100 men.
The Armenians were horribly abusing the corpses. They used to bayonet the people, beheaded them, the infants used to be bayoneted, murdered, the women’s breasts and the men’s noses and ears used to be cut off. The dead bodies were mutilated, cut into pieces and burnt. In the Shusha, Dzhabrail and Dzhavanshir uyezds the massacre was headed by Sokrat bek Malik-Shakhnazarov, Shamir Avakov, Armenak Khachatourov, the brothers Khosrov bek, Ishkhan bek and Tiqran bek Ishkhanovs, Bakhish Avanesov and the others.
The Armenians of the town Shusha and its surrounding villages also declared that they didn’t recognize Kh.Sultanov’s power, the temporary Governor General of the Shuha, Zangazur, Dzhavanshir and the Dzhabrail uyezds, whose residence was in Shusha. Shusha, which was divided into the Armenian and Azerbaijanian parts, was getting confidential instructions, assistance, weapons, ammunition and the like from the Armenian Republic through Arzumanov, the member of the Armenian National council, who took the most enemy position in relation to the Azerbaijan government. Consequently, on 4 June 1919, the Armenians, led by the officer Arzumanov, quite suddenly attacked the Azerbaijani trenches and killed the three Azerbaijani soldiers.
The next day, after such insolence made by Armenians, the Muslims of the rural community Khalfaly attacked the Armenian village Qeybaly, ruined it and killed a part of villagers. The Armenians, who had been committing acts of atrocity to the Azerbaijanis in Armenia, usually try to spread this fact all over the world in their propaganda campaign against the Azerbaijanis and the Azerbaijan government. To investigate this case the Azerbaijani Parliament established a commission consisting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian deputies. The outcomes of the investigation were discussed several times in detail and intensely at the meetings of the Parliament.
So, in late August, 1919, due to strenuous efforts of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic’s government, a declaration was signed between the Azerbaijan government and the Karabakh Armenian National council, according to which the Karabakh Armenians recognized the power of the Azerbaijan government, and the Azerbaijan government granted them a right of the national-cultural autonomy.
Despite all the concession of the Azerbaijan government and the efforts to resolve all the issues peacefully, the Karabakh Armenians didn’t want to give up their evil plans at all. On Novruz holiday, March 22, 1920, an armed rebellion rose again in the territory of the Upper Karabakh. These actions of the Armenians were widely discussed at the meeting of the Azerbaijan parliament on April 1 of the same year. Though the uprising had been put down, the Karabakh Armenians didn’t abandon their claims for the separation of the Upper Karabakh from Azerbaijan and its further annexation to the dashnak Armenia.
g) Massacre in Zangazur
Within the period from 1918 to the April coup of 1920, the Zangazur uyezd became one of the most damaged regions of Azerbaijan due to the acts of atrocity committed by Armenians. During all this period the Armenians’ acts of violence in relation to the Muslim population of the uyezd were going on and didn’t even stop for a moment. A large number of records, which have been stored in the archives of the Special Investigation commission, the Parliament of the Azerbaijan Republic and the other ministries, are evidence of the acts.
Among the records there is a report made by the member of the Special Investigation commission, N.Mikhaylov, where it was indicated that the Muslim population’s situation in this uyezd had been much more terrifying than in any other uyezd. Here, together with the armed bandit troops coming from the Armenian villages, there were well-organized special army troops headed by Andranik. He stated that, absolutely all the Muslim villages of the first police station, most part of the Muslim villages of the second police station, and partially the Muslim villages of the third, fourth and the fifth police stations had been ruined. Most of the villages were flattened to ground and some of them were even ploughed by Armenians. More than 50 thousand Muslims fled to the Dzhabrail uyezd. According to him, 115 Muslim villages were completely destroyed by Armenians, 10 068 Muslim people from these villages were killed or injured. The report gives detailed information concerning each ruined village and the acts of atrocity committed by Armenians in relation to the Muslim population. According to numerous witness statements, these events in the Zangazur uyezd, at the end of the summer and in the autumn of 1918, had happened under the command of Andranik Ozanyan. In the early 1919, following the departure of Andranik’s armed bandit troops from Zangazur, the Muslim people of the villages couldn’t breathe free for long. In the fall of 1919, the Muslim population of Zangazur was subjected to the acts of aggression by regular army of the Ararat Republic’s government and the local armed bandit troops. In November, the Armenians initiated large-scale military operations against the Muslim population of Zangazur. A number of documents, which are stored in our archives, can be evidence to that. Among them one can find the telegrams written by members of the Parliament of the Republic - Dzhalyl Sultanov, Quseyn Akhundzadeh, Mamad Qasan Khodzhakhanly, Farrukh bek Sarmasbekov, Abbas bek Mirzayev, Ismayil Mukhtarov and the others, - who were reporting about the acts of atrocity and rampage perpetrated by Armenian regular army. Among documents there is also detailed information on defensive measures held by the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the State Defence Committee against the Armenians’ attacks and on the mission held with the aim to stop the Armenians’ offensive on the Dzhabrail uyezd.
In April, 1920, held by the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan the mission in this direction was interrupted for Azerbaijan’s occupation by Eleventh Red Army and in December, 1920, with the help of the Soviet Russia, Zangazur was unconditionally transferred to the Armenian SSR.
h) The acts of violence committed by Andranik and the Armenian Republic’s armies in the Nakhichevan and Sharur-Daralayaz uyezds.
A real hater of the entire Turkic world, especially of the Turkish Turks and the Azerbaijanis, Andranik Ozanyan, who had committed the most terrifying acts of violence in the history of mankind in relation to them, was the Turkish citizen by place of birth. Gathering the Armenian armed bandit troops around, he had been massacring the civilians in Turkey for many years, also he was one of the active genocide perpetrators and rebels in the Armenian villages of Sasun, Bitlisa, Van.
Exiled from Turkey, Andranik, during World War One, after touring around Europe arrived in the South Caucasus to ruin towns, villages and commit together with his Armenian troops unseen acts of atrocity over the Turkish civilians in the territories of the Eastern Anadolu - Arzurum, Bitlis, Mush and in the other towns, occupied by the Russian army during the military operations of 1915-1917.
As a result of the situation, following the February revolution and the October coup of 1917 in Russia and after the Soviet Russia’s exit from World War One, Andranik arrived in Yerevan. However, as he couldn’t find common ground with the new Armenian government on 20 June 1918 together with 8 thousand soldiers, 4 cannons, 6 machineguns and with the other military armament he moved to the borders of Nakhichevan in the direction of Dzhulfa, took the bridge and got to Iran. His goal was to join the English troops in Iran. In Iran he took the town of Khoy, but the news concerning the Ottoman Empire’ offensive made him move back to Nakhichevan.
Having burnt the bridge over the Arax in Dzhulfa, on June 20-25, 1918, his troop ruined terribly the village Yaydzhy near Dzhulfa, where lots of women and children died rushing fearfully into the river Arax. In Ordubad he murdered two thousand Turks (Azerbaijanis). Leaving Yaydzhy for the Armenian village Channab, Andranik settled in the mountains, sometimes attacking the Azerbaijani villages, he used to rob, ruin them and kill the residents.
Getting more power in Nakhichevan, on July 14, in his telegram to S.Shaumian, the head of the National Commissioners’ Baku Soviet, Andranik declared the Nakhichevan uyezd, where he had settled with his troops, an integral part of the Soviet Russia and asked to inform about his action the officials of the Russia’s Central government.
In a reply dated 20 July, S.Shaumian wrote to Andranik: “To the national leader Andranik! I have received your telegram. Moscow, that is the Central government, has been informed about the full text of the telegram. On my part, I would like to greet in your person a real national hero”. Andranik’s telegram was really published in the newspaper “Izvestiya” (News) № 155, July 24.
In the summer of 1918, the Turkish troops entered the Nakhichevan region under the command of Kazim Karabekir pasha to defend the Azerbaijani population of Nakhichevan from the Armenians and not to let them occupy Nakhichevan. Late in July, early in August of the same year Andranik’s bandit troops, being defeated by the Turkish troops in the battles at Abraqunus and at the surroundings of the station Nakhichevan, moved through the villages Bist and Nasirvaz of the Ordubad district towards Zangazur.
In Azerbaijan, Nakhichevan and Sharur-Daralayaz were the lands, which Armenians have desired to own for centuries. Established in Transcaucasia in May 1918, the Armenian Republic since its creation had always been trying to seize these uyezds, historically Azerbaijani lands, the most population of which were the Azerbaijanis, and together with them the Upper Karabakh. In this issue the Armenians counted on Englishmen, whom they could trust. The General Thomson encouraged the Armenians to adopt a balanced politics for getting the lands. Thus, in Yerevan, on March 28, 1919, at the meeting with the members of the Armenian government discussions were held on the necessity to take special measures in relation to the Muslim population of Sharur and Nakhichevan for returning the Armenian refugees to their villages without negotiation, about strengthening economic ties with Nakhichevan and maintaining direct communication with them.
The efforts made by the Azerbaijan Republic to restore sovereign rights in the Nakhichevan and Sharur regions weren’t supported by Englishmen; the attempts were prevented on various pretexts. In his reply dated 12 April 1919 to the letter of F.Khoysky on this issue, the British troops command headquarters reported that the indicated regions were under control of the British Governor. The issue concerning the refugees’ return to their lands would be managed by the British Command and would be realized regardless of nationality and religion. Once the refugees fully settled in their lands, the representative of the Armenian government would govern in Nakhichevan and in the other regions on the same terms that had been serving the Karabakh Governor General Dr. Kh.Sultanov.
Since April 15, 1919, the information on temporary transfer of the maqal (territory) to the Armenian Republic had been disseminated among the Muslim population of the Nakhichevan region. In the telegram to Baku dated 20 April 1919, M.Tekinsky, the diplomatic representative of the Azerbaijan Republic in Erivan, reported that in case the disseminating rumors on placing by the Englishmen the territories of Kars, Sharur and Nakhichevan under the administration of the Armenians came true, he offered to rise with the entire Islamic world before the Peace Conference against the several millions of Muslims’ subordination to a half million Armenians.
The letter, dated 30 April of the same year, addressed to the British troops command in the South Caucasus by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, expressed its attitude concerning Nakhichevan, Sharur-Daralayaz and Surmaly’s transfer to the Armenian administration. The letter states that the entire population of the regions is Muslim and they form an integrated whole with Azerbaijan.
General Davy’s coming to Nakhichevan on May 2 became one of the considerable steps for placing this region under temporary control of Armenia. At the meeting with the members of the Nakhichevan Muslim National Council and the other respected people he stated that Nakhichevan and Sharur were in the territory of the Armenian Republic, that’s why they had to be governed by the Armenian Republic. General Davy’s unauthorized and violent actions were protested and the Armenians ruling in the region met a strong opposition, up to the decision made by the Peace conference.
Despite all this, on May 3, 1919, the order on placing the Nakhichevan region under temporary administration of the Armenian Republic was signed by the English General Davy and the chief of the Erivan military troop.
On May 14, 1919, upon the invitation of the English Governor General, who was in Shakhtakhty, the chief and two members of the Nakhichevan Muslim National Council met at the station Nakhichevan with the general Davy and Q.Khatisov, the Prime-Minister of the Armenian Republic, who had come there with the general Davy. Following the negotiations and definite promises, which were given to carry out the terms suggested by Davy, the Prime-Minister expressed his wish to get together on May 15 with the members of the Council and the population.
On that day, first he met with the members of the Council in the conference room, and then with 4 thousand men in the open. Here he saw the reluctance of the population of Nakhichevan to subordinate Armenia and the Armenian government. Yet, Q.Khatisov declared that it was up to the Englishmen.
In reply the aksakals (old men) stated that they would tell the whole world about the arbitrariness in relation to the people of Nakhhichevan and Sharur, would bequeath their children not to tolerate the injustice committed against their fathers and grandfathers, would keep this always in their mind, and not even listening to Q.Khatisov they pointedly left. Seeing the real situation, Q.Khatisov, having left the civil governor Q.Vershamyan in Nakhichevan, returned to Erivan that very day.
In the encrypted telegram from Erivan dated 29 May 1919 M.Tekinsky reported to the Minister of Foreign Affairs M.U.Dzhafarov that the Sharur-Nakhichevan region had been subordinated by Armenians only upon the Englishmen’s demand. The people tabooed the Armenians, refusing to take positions in the administrations managed by Armenians.
None of the promises given by the general Devy and the chair of the Armenian government Q.Khatisov was kept. Soon in different parts of the region the Armenians began to demonstrate lawlessness and arbitrariness. Without any reason the houses of the Muslims were sought, a large amount of the Muslims’ property were requisitioned on the pretext that the property belonged to the Armenians that had left”. A number of respected people were arrested on the pretext that they were Pan-Turkic and Pan-Islamic. According to the calculations of the Nakhichevan Muslim National Council sometimes the amount of searches and arrests reached up to 10-15 a day.
During a short period of Armenians’ “ruling”, 330 searches, 500-600 arrests were realized and 100-150 men were tortured in the town of Nakhichevan.
The policy of repressions, held by Armenians to strengthen the power in the Nakhichevan and Sharur regions, touched the population, which in this situation addressed to the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan to report about this the allied command.
The news about the Englishmen’s leaving the region became real in summer. Based on credible sources, the newspaper “Azerbaijan” reported his readers that the Englishmen would stay in the Caucasus till August 15. The fact, that they would leave Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan, worried much the Azerbaijani population. Yet, the Armenians tried to take advantage of the situation. However, the local population took a number of considerable preparatory actions to put an end to dashnaks’ ruling in the region. All the measures were resulted with serious clashes during the last days of the Armenians’ ruling in the region, July 19-25, and were ended with the expulsion of the Armenian military troops. There were fights across the railroad Erivan-Dzhulfa. At the station Shakhtakhty the military troop of the Armenian garrison was destroyed. Especially hard and tense battles were at the station Norashen. The Nakhichevani people seized 42 guns, 4 cannons, an armored train and lots of weapons. The village of Khanliqlar gave up without fighting. 5 officers, 195 soldiers were captured and 600 rifles were taken here.
Expelled from Nakhichevan and Sharur and bringing together their forces in Qamarly, the Armenians attacked Vedy. But here they took defensive positions at Shirazly, after losing 4000 men, lots of weapons and ammunition.
As it’s getting clear from the documents kept in the archives, the population of Nakhichevan and its bordering regions, which had risen to struggle against the Armenians in the territory, were full of hope and optimism. The population of these regions declared about their wish to join Azerbaijan, otherwise they would beg Turkey to take their region under its control. But they were stating categorically that they would never obey Armenians and there was hardly any power that could hand over their power to Armenians, otherwise they would prefer to die fighting.
Expansion of the Armenian territories towards the Azerbaijani lands and the Azerbaijanis’ deportation from these lands
during the years of the Soviet power (1920-1990)
a) the Armenian soviet leaders’ strategy on territorial issues
after the Sovietization of Armenia
Notwithstanding the establishment of the Soviet power in Azerbaijan after its repeated seizure on April 27, 1920, by Red Army, the situation was uncertain in the territories of Zangazur, Nakhichevan and Sharur-Daralayaz, which were beyond the limits of Azerbaijan. The dashnak Armenia, which had great claims for these territories, was keeping them with all its might in its possession. Along with military operations between the Soviet Russia and the dashnak Armenia taking place during the summer of 1920 for the lands of Zangazur, Nakhicevan, Sharur-Daralayaz, which belonged to Azerbaijan, at the same time they were having political and diplomatic negotiations. In these negotiations the issue on transferring the Azerbaijani lands to Armenia was discussed without the participation of Azerbaijan.
In that regard V.Lenin in his letter to N.Narimanov wrote: “We are experiencing an appalling situation. On one hand, the administration has recognized the autonomy of Georgia and Armenia and independence of Azerbaijan, on the other, the same administration transfers absolutely undeniable territories of Azerbaijan to Armenia…. ”.
We should note also that J.Stalin’s speech, made on November 9, 1920, in Baku, at the plenary session of the Central Committee of the Azerbaijan Communist Party and the Baku Committee, had shed light on much points of this issue. He stated: “…if you want to know where Zangazur and Nakhichevan belong to, in this situation to give it to the present Armenia is not right, but it can be done with the establishment of the Soviet power in its territory”. Regarding Azerbaijan it was said: “I am against the independence of Azerbaijan. One part of the communists can’t be independent from the other one”.
That was the position of the Bolshevik party led by V.Lenin in relation to Azerbaijan, but not of J.Stalin. As a proof to this policy, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan issued a decree by its political and organizational bureau on November 30, the next morning after the establishment of the Soviet power in Armenia on November 29, 1920, which stated: “There is no border separation between the Soviet Azerbaijan and the Soviet Armenia. Zangazur and Nakhichevan are to be transferred to Armenia. The Upper Karabakh is provided with a right of self-determination. N.Narimanov is to make public the declaration”.
After the declaration had been made public by N.Narimanov at a grand meeting of the Baku council, held in Baku, on December 1, to commemorate the proclamation of the Soviet power in Armenia, S.Ordzhenikidzeh characterized it as “a historic act, having no analogues in the history of the human civilization”.
On December 2, S.Ordzhenikidzeh reported to V.Lenin and J.Stalin about the fact of “presenting” the Azerbaijani lands to Armenia. On the same day, according to the agreement signed by Russian Federation and Armenia, these lands were “undoubtedly” proclaimed as the territory of Armenia. In a greeting telegram to the “long-suffering” Armenian people, dated 30 December, J.Stalin wrote that the Soviet Azerbaijan “having renounced voluntarily the controversial regions, declared about the transfer of Zangazur, Nakhichevan and the Upper Karabakh to the Soviet Armenia”. These undeniable facts only do confirm that all the resolutions on the issue were made de facto and de jure in Moscow.
And only strong objections of the Nakhichevan population and a firm stand of Turkey in this issue didn’t let the Armenians realize the dream of possessing Nakhichevan and their numerous attempts later in the issue were unsuccessful.
b) Attitudes to the Upper Karabakh
Naturally, the Armenians are in a hurry to benefit from the advantageous situation, immediately, using all available means and forces to seize, as far as they have a chance, the Upper Karabakh, about which they have been dreaming for centuries. Apparently, the Armenians were quite sure that the Upper Karabakh in the very near future, just like Zangazur, would be declared as the territory of Armenia. That’s why, in June 1921, the National Council of the Armenian Commissars appointed A.Muravyan as a plenipotentiary of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic in the Upper Karabakh. It caused much concern in Azerbaijan. In the same year, on July 4, at the evening session of the Caucasian Bureau of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks’), the issues regarding the Upper Karabakh were discussed with the Central Committee member of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks’) J.Stalin. After continued debates the issue concerning keeping the Upper Karabakh as a part of Azerbaijan SSR or its falling under the control of the Armenian SSR was put to a vote. N.Narimanov and S.Kirov were at the meeting. According to the results of voting only 3 men had voted for keeping the Upper Karabakh as a part of the Azerbaijan SSR. And 4 men had voted for its falling under the control of the Armenian SSR. S.Kirov, the autocratic ruler in Azerbaijan, had also voted for giving the Upper Karabakh to the Armenian SSR. Only 5 persons (S.Kirov was among them) voted against holding a plebiscite among the Azerbaijani and the Armenian people for making decision on the issues. Thus, at the session, on July 4, it was decided by Caucasian Bureau to hold a plebiscite strictly among the Armenian people concerning the issue of the Upper Karabakh’s falling under the control of the Armenian SSR.
In view of the fact that these lands are historically Azebaijani and Karabakh has got an exclusive role in the life of Azerbaijan, N.Narimanov suggests making final decisions on the issues at the discussions of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks’), and the bureau in his last statement agreed to make final decisions at the meeting of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks’).
However, next day, on July 5, S.Ordzhenikidzeh and A.Nazaretyan, for reasons unknown, suggest considering once more the issue of the decision made at yesterday’s meeting. After the thorough discussion of the issue, the decision of the following content was taken. “For maintaining peaceful inter-ethnic relations between the Muslims (Azeris - Atakhan Pashayev) and the Armenians, taking into account economic and the other ties of the Upper and Lower Karabakh with Azerbaijan, to leave the Nagorny Karabakh as a part of the Azerbaijan SSR, by providing it with a right of autonomy and including the town Shusha in its autonomy as it’s centre”. 4 men voted for the decision, whereas 3 men abstained in the vote.
Granting autonomy to the Nagorny Karabakh has been on the agenda of Transcaucasia, the party and soviet bodies of the Azerbaijan SSR for a long time. Thus, after the decree of the Central Executive Committee of Azerbaijan, dated 7 July 1923, “About establishment of the Nagorny Karabakh Autonomous Region”, as the Armenian part of the Nagorny Karabakh was granted autonomy within the Azerbaijan SSR with the centre of the autonomous region in Khankandy, the theme had been for a long time under discussion. There are lots of archival documents and records on the topic.
Consequently, in the Upper Karabakh, in one of the lovely corners of Azerbaijan, under the so-called autonomy, a new Armenian entity was created. In spite of the fact that the government of Azerbaijan, compromising in all the issues, is ready to grant unlimited autonomy to the Nagorny Karabakh, the Armenians, being passionate about the idea of “the greater Armenia”, can’t come to an agreement at all. Their goal is to make it a part of Armenia, keeping in mind the idea, they conduct a hidden propaganda. It’s not a surprise that periodically they raise the issue about the unification of the Nagorny Karabakh with Armenia for keeping the issue on the agenda.
c) Territorial claims of the Soviet Armenia to Azerbaijan and the Azeris’ deportation from their historical lands on all kinds of pretexts
As a result of the policy aimed at the Azeris’ expulsion, cruelly conducted by the Armenian military troops and bandits during the rule of the Armenian party “Dashnaktsyutun” in 1918-1920, in the territories, where the Azeris lived, approximately 1000 villages were destroyed, the number of the Azerbaijani people from 570 thousand people dropped to 12 thousand men by November of 1920. With the establishment of the Soviet rule in Armenia in 1921-1922, more than 100 thousand Azeris were able to return to their homeland.
But even after the establishment of the Soviet power in Armenia, when they had occupied Zangazur and made Nagorny Karabakh autonomous, the Bolshevik leaders of Armenia still kept in their view occupation plans of the Azerbaijani lands.
Generally, during 70 years of existence of the Soviet power, the Armenian SSR, on one hand, expanding “Iittle by little”, “inch by inch” their territories due to the Azerbaijani lands, on the other hand, using all kinds of harassment and expelling the Azeris from the ancestors’ lands, thereby were practically realizing the policy of creation of “Armenia without Turks”, only for Armenians.
Together with the centre, the leadership of the Transcaucasian Federation, which mostly consisted of Armenians and Georgians, played a great role in transferring the Azerbaijani lands to Armenia. Only with granting autonomy to Nagorny Karabakh the Transcaucasian Federation provided them an opportunity for the future unification of these lands with Armenia. According to the Decree dated 18 February 1929, taken at the session of the Central Executive Committee of the Transcaucasian Federation, the three villages of Nuvedy, Ernazur and Tuqut of the Dzhabrail uyezd and 9 villages of the Nakhichevan Autonomous SSR covering 657 square kilometers were transferred to the Armenian SSR. In 1930 due to the transfer of the villages of Lekhvez, Aldere and Astazur to the Armenian SSR, the Meqrin region were founded, thereby a separation route covering 45 kilometers appeared between the Nakhichevan Autonomous SSR and Azerbaijan.
All these years Armenians were officially stating that the attitude to the Azeris in the Armenian SSR was always loyal, good, that the Azeris themselves didn’t want to live there. But indeed thousands of Azerbaijanis had left Armenia long before the events of 1988, they were seeking asylum in Azerbaijan because of unbearable life conditions made for them by Armenians and for this reason they had to leave their homeland. With the return to Armenia, after getting higher education in Azerbaijan, they had no chance to get a job, they were provided neither with secondary education nor with primary education. They were made to work under the direction of Armenians. The Armenians were torturing, bullying them, made them quit their jobs and leave Armenia of their own free will. Yet Armenians reject all these facts with insolence they’ve always had.
The materials, classified as “top secret”, kept in one of the documents of the Political Parties Archives under the Office of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan reflect the facts of the Azerbaijanis’ humiliation during the Soviet power in the state bodies of the Armenian SSR and their being ill-treated by the population inspired by Dashnaks, the Azeris’ conscious oppression by Armenians when they finally were forced to leave Armenia. This is the document of the State Political Management (QPU) under the Council of People’s Commissars of the Transcaucasia Federation which describes a political situation in the three republics of the South Caucasus – in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. The information review for 1 January 1929 sent to A.Q.Karayev and L.Mirzoyan on January 30 of the same year. In the document together with the issues related to the three republics of the Transcaucasian federation there are a great amount of facts about unfair policy conducted in the Armenian SSR in relation to the Azeris and intolerable situation created for them.
It was told in the review about rising relocation moods among the Azeris who lived in the Armenian SSR. There is new information on relocation moods in the Aqbaba district of the Lori-Pambek uyezd, about increase of such moods in the Leninanakan, Novo-Bayazet and Echmiadzin uyezds, in this regard the reasons and conditions for relocation moods increase are considered in it. While determining the causes of the relocation moods, two circumstances attracted the attention. On one hand, this is the people’s own will to relocate, and, on the other hand, initial reasons leading to relocation wills were shown.
In the review, the Azeris’ relocation reasons from the Armenian SSR were studied in the example of one region from Basarkechar. It was noted that the Azeris’s main relocation reasons were connected with education, health and the lack of provided means used in the agriculture. But, on the other hand, the relocation reasons were connected with unfair attitude of the governmental bodies to them and the Dashnak propaganda conducted against them.
The review notes that in the Basarkechar province of the Novo-Bayazet uyezd there were only 16 primary schools and two libraries intended for 32 villages with the population of 15 thousand Muslims. The schools were left without the most necessary equipments. There was no new school. We can say that in the schools the windows were all broken and the walls were cracked. The teaching staff by its social-political and professional training was of a low level.
It was written that across Basarkechar there was only one hospital with 13 beds and one ambulatory. The ambulatory most times was closed, and with winter’s coming for impassable roads the villagers used to have no chance to get to it.
In the villages with the Azerbaijani population there were neither grain-harvesting machines, nor seeders. The tractors and ploughs got by the villagers were good for nothing.
The number of Azerbaijani trainers wasn’t quite enough in the party committees of the province with the Azerbaijani population. In the Razdan province of the Erivan uyezd the instructor was Armenian with limited Azerbaijani proficiency, who was mistreating the Azerbaijanis. The situation was not different in the Basarkechar province of the Novo-Bayazet uyezd.
To get rid of the Azerbaijanis and force them leave their homeland, the Armenians located their places with the Armenian refugees, by this way harassing the Azerbaijanis.
In the Novo-Bayazet uyezd, as it was reported in the review, the houses of the Azerbaijanis were settled with the Armenian refugees by the governmental bodies, and it was certainly done against their will. The Azerbaijanis were promised that the Armenians would be settled in new houses in two months. This situation became intolerable for both of the sides. The Armenian refugees used at no cost the wood kept by Azerbaijanis for their own use in winter. Sometimes the Azerbaijanis, who had still no enough place to live, were forced to settle the Armenians with the demand “to share the place in any way”, to shelter Armenians. As for example, in the village Boyuk Mezreh, the house, where the Azerbaijanis themselves had already been living in the cramped condition, was further settled with two Armenian refugee families. As a result, the Azerbaijanis had to rent a house for 18 rubles per month in the neighborhood to settle there the Armenian refugees. Another Azerbaijani family had to apply to the state bodies to get building material in order to construct themselves a house for the Armenian family by their own means thereby getting rid of them.
It was reported in the review that even in the tax policy the state bodies managed to create unbearable conditions for Azerbaijanis. For example, for the Azerbaijani villagers of the Vorontsov province the taxes were increased intentionally, 85 farms of the village Irmozlo got additional 25 per cents to their taxes. It was noted in the review that the attitude like this to the Azerbaijanis were being experienced in the other regions of Armenia.
The local and state bodies’ rude attitude to the Azerbaijanis also was reflected in the review. Thus, during the executive committee chair and the prosecutor’s visit to the village of Yukhary Zaqaly of the Novo-Bayazet uyezd the Azerbaijanis addressing to him asked to help them with the resettlement to Azerbaijan, in reply the chair of the executive committee said: “Well, get away to your countrymen”. But then after figuring out his own misstep, he continued: “No, you’d better die here without seeing resettlement”. Then one of the villagers turned to the prosecutor, but he didn’t even listen to him: “I’m not your prosecutor, - he replied. – Your prosecutor is in Azerbaijan”.
Biased and unhealthy attitude to the Azerbaijanis in the Armenian SSR, as highlighted in the review, woke resettlement moods in all the Azerbaijani villages of the Aqbabalinsky province of the Leninakan uyezd, the Basarkechar province of the Novo-Bayazet uyezd, of all the Lory-Pambek uyezd, in some regions of the Erivan and Echmiadzin uyezds. It is noted that the Dashnak emissaries and the propaganda of the Armenian chauvinism did a great job in creating resettlement moods among the Azerbaijani villages. The two Dashnaks in the village Qara Davaly of the Erivan uyezd tried to assure their familiar Azerbaijanis to leave Armenia as soon as possible, “otherwise the Dashnaks will soon take the country and then every Azeri will be chopped up”.
As highlighted in the conclusion of the chapter of the review, “the intolerable conditions created for Azerbaijanis in the Armenian SSR caused real preconditions of resettlement moods among the residents of the Azerbaijani villages”.
Such reviews made by the General Political Department under the Transcaucasian Federation were presented in sufficient numbers. Unfortunately, only one of them has been preserved. If all of them had been preserved, we would have known much more about the sufferings and troubles that had experienced the Azerbaijanis in Armenia by Armenians’ will during the Soviet power. We wonder how Armenians, who can skillfully reject all disadvantageous facts, in this case would reject incontrovertible evidence, provided by reports of the Transcaucasian Federation’s government.
d) Armenians’ territorial claims increase after the World War Two
After the Second World War the Armenian territorial claims increased. At the Tehran conference of the state leaders in 1943 the Armenian Diaspora managed, as it always did, to take the opportunity. They got permission from J.Stalin for the Armenians’ living in Iran resettlement to the soviet Armenia. That was quite enough for the insidious Armenians. In April 1945 in his written appeal to J.Stalin the deputy Supreme Patriarch of All Armenians’ Catholicos Georq Georkyan asked to restore a monastery in Echmiadzin, the activity of which was sacred for Armenians worldwide and in this regard to carry out some required measures. On April 19, J.Stalin put the next resolution on the letter: “Agreed. The Council of People’s Commissars’ Chairman, J.Stalin”. Encouraged by J.Stalin’s generosity, the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (the Bolsheviks) of Armenia Q.Arutyunov in November of 1945, having addressed a letter to J.Stalin, without any reasonable grounds asked him to unite Nagorny Karabakh with Armenia. For response the letter was sent to the leadership of Azerbaijan. In the letter of reply M.D.Baqirov, having given thorough and substantial information on Nagorny Karabakh and having underlined its being a historical and integral part of Azerbaijan concluded that Azerbaijan had no objection to the suggestion, with the exception of the town of Shusha, but on one condition, the territories of the Armenian SSR, Georgian SSR and the Dagestan ASSR with the majority of the Azerbaijani population, bordering with Azerbaijan, and historically being Azerbaijani, would be returned to Azerbaijan. Thus, a point was made in the issue and the Armenian request remained unmet.
However, deceitful and insidious Armenians found a better way of succeeding. Leaving behind the issue of Nagorny Karabakh, they brought to the fore the issues connected with accepting and resettling the Armenians going back to “the Motherland”. The issue was raised the way as if there weren’t enough lands to settle returning Armenians, and in the cotton producing regions of the Kura-Araks lowland of Azerbaijan the workforce was lacking. All the problems would be definitely solved by resettlement of the Azerbaijani population living in Armenia to the Kura-Araks lowland. It was rather difficult to object to reasonable arguments like these during Stalin’s regime. On the other hand, obviously, the Armenians managed to convince M.D.Baqirov about an advantage of the event. Otherwise M.D.Baqirov wouldn’t agree with the issue so easily. In the Archives of Political Documents there is a copy of the letter signed together by M.D.Baqirov and Q.Arutyunov, the first secretaries of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (the Bolsheviks) of Azerbaijan and Armenia, which was sent to J.Stalin in December of 1947. In the above-mentioned letter the reasons of the Azerbaijanis’ resettlement from the Armenian SSR are justified and practical ideas are accordingly suggested. To resettle the Azerbaijani population of the Armenian SSR to the cotton producing regions of Azerbaijan and to resettle in their places arriving from abroad Armenians.
e) The Azerbaijanis’ deportation from the Armenian SSR in 1948-1953
Consequently, in response the Council of Ministers of the USSR on December 23, 1947, adopted a decree signed by J.Stalin: “About resettlement of farmers (Kolkhozniks) and the rest Azerbaijani population from the Armenian SSR to the Kura-Araks lowland of the Azerbaijan SSR”. The decree became a stab in the back of the Azerbaijani people, and as a matter of fact it was an open deportation policy. It appears that the document, which has neither introductory paragraph, nor any other explanations, was prepared in a hurry and begins directly with the decree itself. On March 10, 1948, as an addition to the decree, the Council of Ministers of the USSR adopted the second decree. The activities and plans, connected with the resettlement, were interpreted more widely and reasonably in the second decree.
In the decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR dated 23 December 1947, it was noted that in 1948-1950 the resettlement of 100 thousand farmers (Kolkhozniks) and the rest Azerbaijani population living in the Armenian SSR to the Kura-Araks lowland of the Azerbaijan SSR” had to be conducted “on a voluntary basis”. The resettlement according to years was expected as it follows: in 1948 – 10 thousand men, in 1949 – 40 thousand and in 1950 - 50 thousand men. The resettlement conditions were considered, the organizations were chosen for dealing the matter and their functions were established in both decrees.
The fact that the decree was prepared in a hurry can be seen from its Article 11. Here we can read: “The Council of Ministers of the Armenian SSR is permitted to use the buildings and the dwelling houses of the Azeris, who have been resettled to the Kura-Araks lowland of the Azerbaijan SSR, for locating the Armenians arriving in the Armenian SSR from abroad.
In the second decree of the Council Ministers of the USSR, signed by J.Stalin, “About activities regarding resettlement of farmers (Kolkhozniks) and the rest Azerbaijani population from the Armenian SSR to the Kura-Araks lowland of the Azerbaijan SSR” it was stated that it was an addition to the decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR dated 23 December 1947. The decree of 10 March 1948 reviewed in detail the activities regarding the resettlement. Here it was indicated that resettling from the Armenian SSR to the Kura-Araks lowland the collective farms and farmers (kolkhozniks) could take with themselves only essential production tools, agricultural products, equipments, live and mechanical working animals, all kinds of domestic animals and poultry, bee families, transport means, etc.
In the decree the Councils of Ministers of the Armenian SSR and the Azerbaijan SSR were assigned within a month to determine an order of payment for the real estates left by the collective farms and the farmers (Kolkhozniks), who were resettling from Armenia to the Kura-Araks lowland. The Councils of Ministers of these republics were ordered to provide any kind of assistance to the resettling population in selling their real properties.
In the decree it was said it would be appropriate to rename the Department for placing the collective farms and housing the population of the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR into the Resettlement department under the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR.
To implement the decrees of the Council of Ministers of the USSR the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR adopted special decrees on February 2 and April 14 of 1948.
The confidential decree of February 2, 1948, clarified the situations related to the receiving and housing the population of 10 thousand people coming from the Armenian SSR in 1948.
According to the decree the State Planning Committee, certain ministries and republic institutions, regional executive committees were to develop plans relating to resettlement on special activities and submit them to the Council of Ministers for consideration.
On March 19, 1948, the Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (the Bolsheviks) of Azerbaijan having widely discussed the objectives coming from the above-mentioned decrees of the Council of Ministers of the USSR and for their implementation instructed the Council of Ministers within 10 days to draw up a plan of activities on resettlement, and Q.Qasanov, the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (the Bolsheviks) of Azerbaijan, had to develop and present to the Bureau a plan of political-educational and explanatory work among the population, resettled from the Armenian SSR and among the population of the regions which had to welcome those coming from the Azerbaijan SSR. The plan had to be submitted to the Central Committee Bureau. The Bureau also decided to delegate T.Kuliyev, the chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR, and Q.Seyidov, the Secretary of the Central Committee, to the Armenian SSR in order to agree with the leadership of the Armenian SSR upon the dates and procedures of the Azerbaijanis’ resettlement from Armenia.
The decree of the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR of April 14, 1948, thoroughly clarified the above-mentioned decrees of the Council of Ministers of the USSR and specified the tasks which had to be fulfilled by certain republican organizations.
The decree of the Council of Ministers defined the 100 thousand Azerbaijanis’ resettlement from the Armenian SSR to the Kura-Araks lowland of the Azerbaijan SSR, as the most important national economic challenge for the next 3 years. It was the matter of importance not only for the Resettlement department, but it also stood as a primary objective for ministries, departments, productive and economic organizations’ leaders, leaderships of the executive committees, towns and regions.
On April 13, 1948, the Central Committee of the Communist Party (the Bolsheviks) of Azerbaijan issued a special decree “About a massive explanatory work due to the farmers (Kolkhozniks) and the rest Azerbaijani population’s resettlement from the Armenian SSR to the Azerbaijan SSR”.
This exclusively rough and fateful issue for our people was described in the decree of the Central Committee as it follows: “…The decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR dated 23 December 1947, which had been adopted with the request of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan, “is the most crucial political document and a caring of the party, state and the comrade Stalin’s in person about a further cultural, economic development of the Azerbaijan SSR, Azerbaijan people”.
To explain a political meaning of the decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, the decree of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (the Bolsheviks) of Azerbaijan lists point by point the targets to be fulfilled by Republic’s party, soviet and public organizations and an emphasis is given to clarification of the suggested benefits. For the purpose it was suggested to delegate to the Armenian SSR “senior party, soviet workers, best lecturers and agitators for leading a massive-explanatory work”. The decree was focused on artists and literary figures’ campaign.
The organizational work for resettlement had started from making a list of the Armenian SSR’s regions, from which the Azerbaijanis would be resettled in 1948. They determined the number of families and people from each region to be resettled and the regions of Azerbaijan where they would be relocated. For this purpose in January of 1948 the representatives of the Council of Ministers and the Central Committee of the Communist Party (the Bolsheviks) of the Azerbaijan SSR were delegated to the Armenian SSR. Together with the Council of Ministers of the Armenian SSR they had an objective to draw up one plan of activities on resettlement and along with that to conduct an explanatory work among the Azerbaijanis, who’d be resettled from Armenia, about the terms of resettlement and benefits,.
According to the decision of the Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist party (the Bolsheviks) of Azerbaijan, T.Kuliyev, the chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR, and Q.Seyidov, the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Azerbaijan Communist Party (the Bolsheviks), were delegated to Armenia. Together with the leadership of the Armenian SSR they travelled round the regions where the Azeris lived and conducted an explanatory work on procedures and terms of resettlement. According to the decree of the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR of 13 May 1948 it was planned to resettle to Azerbaijan during the current year 2 757 houses (12 171 men) from the Stalinsk, Spandaryansk districts of Yerevan, and also from the Basarkechar, Vedinsk, Artashatsk, Noyenberyansk, Oktemberyansk, Zanqibasar and the other regions. 6 215 men were supposed to be relocated to the Kura-Araks lowland, and the rest 5 962 – in the other regions of Azerbaijan.
On July 9, 1948, T.Kuliyev, the chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Republic, in his letter to V.M.Molotov, the vice-chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, asked to resettle a part of the Azerbaijan population, relocating in 1948 to the Kura-Araks lowland, to the other regions due to lack of houses for them. It was also underlined that it would be hard for the population coming from the mountains to get used to the climate conditions of the Kura-Araks lowland. Unfortunately, the Council of Ministers of the USSR didn’t agree with the letter. Consequently, deported to the Kura-Araks lowland thousands of Azerbaijani families couldn’t survive in a hot severe climate and died.
One more unlucky moment for the Azerbaijanis was the fact that their fate in their own Republic was in the hands of the governing Armenians. During all the period of resettlement the process, at first, was managed by N.A.Brutents (the father of one of the perpetrators of the Karabakh events, of a “well-known” K.N.Brutents), the head of a department in the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR, then he was replaced by R.I.Sevumyan. As the saying goes, to let wolves herd sheep.
To organize a resettlement, the Division for collective farms resettlement in the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR was upgraded to the Resettlement Department under the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR. Within a period of the collective farms and the rest Azerbaijani people’s resettlement from the Armenian SSR, the office of the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR was opened in the Armenian SSR, in the city of Yerevan. M.N.Mamadov was appointed as the Permanent Representative of the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR in the Armenian SSR.
The first settlers from the Armenian SSR to the Kura-Araks lowland arrived early in June 1948. In the note dated June 19 made by the Ministry of state farms of the Azerbaijan SSR, it was stated that the first train contained 44 Azerbaijani families, which were settled in the state farms of the Jdanov district (present Baylaqan).
On July 29, the accredited representative of the Council of Ministers Abbasov reported from the station Goranboy that “on July 28, at 9 a.m. one more train arrived with 59 carriages. There were 382 men, 101 families with all their belongings and livestock. They were received and their stuff was unloaded in a due course. By 9 p.m., 98 families had already been taken by cars to the collective farms (kolkhozs). Those, who arrived, are in good spirits”.
In the State archives of video and photo documents there is absolutely unique film regarding the Azerbaijanis’ deportation from Armenia. “A welcoming party” for the deported ones in Azerbaijan was filmed in it. The local people with the bouquets of flowers are waiting for a train to arrive and among them you can see mainly officials. Then a beeping train appears which stops, as soon as it arrives at the station. The deportees from Armenia are watching this “welcoming” ceremony through the small windows and high open doors of the goods wagons. The rally is being held. The cameras are filming the wagons again. The women, children, old men, then cows, bulls and sheep are leaving the goods wagons through the open doors. It’s interesting that the poor population was deported from the home places, now so-called Armenia, with the same festivities, to the music of zurna and balaban (musical instruments). According to the testimony of the Armenians themselves, the deportees, who “voluntarily” left their homeland, the land where their ancestors had lived for centuries, even were made to dance to the sounds of “a black zurna”.
By November 1, 1948, 1 799 families, with 7 747 people, had already been resettled from the Armenian SSR to the Azerbaijan SSR. During that period 429 families, 2 228 men resettled on their own will from the Armenian SSR to Azerbaijan. Thus, by November 1, 1948, 10 584 men, that is 2 228 families, had resettled to Azerbaijan.
It was planned to resettle from the Armenian SSR to Azerbaijan 40 thousand men by the decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR issued on December 23, 1947. The results of the resettlement campaign of 1948 showed that to resettle the population of 40 thousand men was challenging. And that’s why the chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Republic had to write again to the Council of Ministers of the USSR.
In the letter he asked to take into account the current difficulties and resettle instead of planned 40 thousand men 12 - 15 thousand men in 1949 from the Armenian SSR. Also he asked to settle migrants from the mountainous regions of the Armenian SSR to the mountainous regions of Azerbaijan with appropriate climate and to keep the benefits for them, which were set for the migrants in the Kura-Araks lowland. However, the Council of Ministers of the USSR answered in the negative for the offer.
The Resettlement department in his letters, reports of 1949 written to the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR had repeatedly pointed to the fact that for the lack of houses the migrants in the Safaraly and Agdjabady regions were living in intolerable conditions. Sometimes families had to live in little shacks or in the stables along with livestock. For instance, in the collective farm (kolkhoz) named after T.Kuliyev in the Agdzhabadinsky region the three families lived in a little unrepaired shack which was without windows and doors and with a bad roof.
The migrant Orudzhaly Akparov used to live in Khayat Amirakhovoy’s house in the collective farm (kolkhoz) named after Dzhaparidze in the Safaraliyev region. Early in December his belongings were thrown to the street and the family of five members had to spend a winter night outside. The migrant Qadzhar Akparova’s family also had to spend several nights outside. Quseyn Aliyev’s family of eight persons settled in a little room of Ilyasov’s house. The owner of the house, his wife and children used to lock his children in the room, scold and insult them, while Q.Aliyev was out in the afternoon. All that irritated the migrants.
In this regard, the chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Republic T.Kuliyev had to appeal again on September 21, 1949, to the vice-chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR Q.M.Malenkov. He reported that at least 20 thousand houses were demanded to settle 90 thousand men, that is 21 families. Along with this it was necessary to build factories, plants, schools, hospitals, water supply systems, bathhouses and the other additional services. For this it was important to carry out construction and installation works for at least 400 million people. Within two years such a huge work would be beyond the capabilities of the Azerbaijan Republic. Taking into account all abovementioned the Council of Ministers of the Republic asked to decrease the resettlement plan of 1949 up to 10 thousand men and allowed to resettle 15 thousand men in 1950.
The vice-chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Armenian SSR A.Piruzyan on December 2 of the same year in his letter to the chair of the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR reported that 3 278 houses, or 15 276 men, according to the plan of 1949, had to be resettled from the Armenian SSR to Azerbaijan. But, in fact, 10 595 men or 2 368 families were resettled. According to the plan 628 families or 3 201 men were waiting for resettlement. They had to be resettled to Azerbaijan in October-November, consequently, they had sold their houses, feeding for livestock, fuel for winter, food and some people even sold their household property, so we can say that they had to live under the open sky. But the Resettlement Department of Azerbaijan declared that they had had no opportunity to resettle them in the current year. The Department in its letter asked T.Kuliyev to assist personally the settlers.
In December of 1949 in view of the situation the chair of the Council of Ministers of Azerbaijan T.Kuliyev had to turn to the vice-chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR Q.M.Malenkov. In the letter T.Kuliyev linked the first reason of the failed resettlement plan within two years with the fact that for the settlers to the Kura-Araks lowland there hadn’t been constructed any housing conditions or welfare and recreational facilities. He reported that the settlers from the Armenian SSR in 1948-1949 had been settled mainly in the houses of the local farmers, restricting the owners’ living conditions.
On January 10th, 1950, the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR and the Central Committee of the Communist Party (the Bolsheviks) of Azerbaijan issued a decree “On the urgent measures to be taken to assist the farmers resettling from the Armenian SSR to the regions of the Kura-Araks lowland of the Azerbaijan SSR”. It was noted in the decree that in 1948-1949 from the Armenian SSR 4 674 families (20 000 men) were resettled to the Kura-Araks lowland of the Azerbaijan SSR. 1 410 families from the settlers were settled in the houses of the local councils and collective farms (kolkhozs), and 3 264 families were settled in the farmers’ houses. The decree also noted lack of the required construction works and about the fact that within two years for the settlers only 80 new houses had been built. The decree also stated about the measures for expanding construction of houses and public places for the settlers.
On March 14th, 1950, the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR considered the plan of the spring resettlement from the Armenian SSR and on August 25 of the same year the plan of the autumn resettlement and, finally, issued decrees approving these plans. According to the first decision it was planned to arrange resettlement of 1 672 families (6 510 men) in spring, and in autumn of 1 747 families (7 851 men).
On March 27th, 1950, the chair of the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR T.Kuliyev and the secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (the Bolsheviks) of Azerbaijan Q.Seyidov sent a common letter to the secretaries of the party committees of all regions of the Republic and to the chairs of the executive power. The letter said: “The experience of 1948-1949 shows that in some regions the farmers (Kolkhozniks) who have left on their own will the Armenian SSR are accepted and settled. Such settlers are breaking the law on resettlement, which has been established by the state, having settled in the villages, instead of doing work which can be useful for public, they speculate and commit fraud. They violate planned relocation to the regions that are in need of workforce”. In the document you can also find information, provided by the chair of the Resettlement Department, on the families which relocated on their own will from the Armenian SSR to the different regions of the Azerbaijan SSR. Thus, here is the information on families relocated on their own will: to Kazakh 86 families (425 men), Akstafa 97 families (605 men), Tovuz 71 families (263 men), Shamkhor 201 families (1 163 men), Kadabak 72 families (427 men), Kirovabad 51 families (245 men), Khanlar 7 families (39 men), Dastafur 47 families (225 men), Kasum-Ismaylov 23 families (163 men), Yevlakh 52 families (256 men), Mir-Bashir 6 families (32 men), Barda 6 families (18 men), Geokchay 17 families (81 men), Balakan 31 families (125 men), Jdanov 10 families (32 men), Kalbadzhar 4 families (23 men), Norashan 55 families (212 men). In total, the number of families which left the Armenian SSR for the Azerbaijan SSR was 856 with the number of people in them - 4 396 men.
The construction of new houses for the settlers was the main challenge facing the republican organizations due to the resettlement in 1950.
As it is seen from the documents the year of 1950 in the resettlement process turned out to be the toughest and busiest year. The settlers had no houses to live in. For example, the telegram, received in January of the same year from Karadonly, reported that the 11 railway carriages with the settlers hadn’t been unloaded for 3 days. The other telegram, received in November of the same year from Udzhar, read that it had been for more than a month that the 52 families, which had arrived in Udzhar to leave for the Zardob region, had been living in the open air and the situation was really difficult. They asked to settle them in the Zhdanovsk region, where their relatives had been settled earlier. As it’s seen, the settlers, who had arrived from the same region of Armenia, were settled in different regions, villages, collective farms (kolkhozs) and state farms (sovkhozs). And they were rightly frustrated by the situation. They were sent to different collective farms (kolkhozs), whereas their public means of production were delivered to another collective farm (kolkhoz).
It was planned to construct 3 500 houses for the settlers in 1950, but in fact, only 470 houses were built. Only 13.4 % of the plan was carried out. 1 488 resettling families weren’t provided with the household plot.
On June 23 of the same year the Resettlement Department under the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR upon instructions dated May 30, 1950, given by the General affairs Department of the Council of Ministers, submitted information on implementation of the decree N26 of January 10, 1950, issued by the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR together with the Central Committee of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Azerbaijan.
The information reported that according to the resettlement plan of 1950 from 3 500 families or 15 000 men it was intended to resettle 1 672 families or 7 510 men in spring. By June 6, 1 764 families or 7 790 men had been resettled to the 6 regions of the Azerbaijan SSR.
From 19 million rubles in loan only 13.9 million rubles (73 per cent) were spent on house construction and buying domestic animals for the settlers in 1950.
On August 3, 1950, the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR took a special decision “On the inspection results of the farmers’ accommodation, resettled from the Armenian SSR to the collective farm (kolkhoz) named after Azizbekov in the village Qaralar, the region Imishly of the Azerbaijan SSR”.
The decree stated that the settlers coming from the Armenian SSR to the collective farm (kolkhoz) named after Azizbekov, and also to the other collective farms of the region were living in terrible conditions. The construction crews weren’t organized to build houses for the settlers arriving in the region, the construction materials weren’t given to be used, the construction materials of the regional council weren’t allocated among the collective farmers (kolkhozniks)-settlers, etc. The chair of the collective farm (kolkhoz) named after Azizbekov Miraly Aliyev didn’t even try to find jobs for the settlers, to ease hard conditions of their existence, on the contrary, he didn’t allow some of the settlers to work, for example, Talib Nuriyev, Mamed Aliyev, Ali Quliyev and Mamed Qasanov. And all this caused dissatisfaction among the farmers-settlers.
Amir Ismailov, resettled in November of 1950 from the collective farm (kolkhoz) “Azad”, the village Ragimabad, Zangibasar region of the Armenian SSR to the collective farm (kolkhoz) named after Molotov, Aghdzhabady region of the Azerbaijan SSR, early in August of 1951 returned again to his native village. And on August 13 he addressed a telegram to J.Stalin from Yerevan to Moscow, to read as follows: “Our dear father, Stalin! I report that we were resettled in 1950 from the Armenian SSR to the Azerbaijan SSR. We had to get back again to Armenia. The reason was that we had no living conditions in Azerbaijan. The climate of Azerbaijan wasn’t suitable for us to live there. Our children died there, and now we are ill. Our dear father, we ask You, to make for us a life in the Armenian SSR possible again”.
In 1951 at the meetings of the Board of the Head Resettlement Department under the Council of Ministers of the USSR, the state of the Azerbaijanis’ resettlement from the Armenian SSR to the Kura-Araks lowland of the Azerbaijan SSR was discussed three times. And every time the unsuccessful implementation of the resettlement was specially underlined. The first discussion took place on January 31 of the same year, when they were discussing “The results of the resettlement in 1950 and preparation to the resettlement in 1951”. The decree of the Board of the Resettlement Department noted that resettled from the Armenian SSR, in 1948-1950, 4 878 families, out of 8 110, had no proper living conditions.
On April 28 and August 28 of the same year General Resettlement Department under the Council of Ministers of the USSR discussed at the meetings the issue on resettlement from the Armenian SSR to the Azerbaijan SSR. At the meeting it was decided to report about failed implementation of the resettlement plan to the Council of Ministers of the USSR.
General Resettlement Department was really interested in the resettlement to Azerbaijan in 1951 and it had its reasons. During that year there were cases when some Azeris, resettled from the Armenian SSR to the Kura-Araks lowland, used to get back. While the Azeris leaving their property behind on their own will were resettling from the Armenian SSR to Azerbaijan, the officials of the Armenian SSR were keeping silence and tried not to demonstrate any kind of discontent about the case. But as soon as the number of cases connected with the Azeris’ return to the native lands increased, who had been resettled to the Kura-Araks lowland, the Armenian officials got worried, as they say, they beat they drums. On May-June 1951 the Council of Ministers of the Armenian SSR, the Resettlement department and the regional executive committees sent telegrams and letters one after another to the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR, the General Resettlement Department under the Council of Ministers of the USSR, launching a new campaign in connection with the settlers’ return. On May 27 the Chair of the Resettlement Department of the Armenian SSR reported to Moscow about return of 360 families, on May 29 the Chair of the Council of Ministers of the Armenian SSR S.Karapetyan reported to the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR about return of 376 families, the Chair of the Executive Committee of the Akhtinsky region – about return of 117 families only to Akhtinsky region. Most of all they were afraid of the returnees’ agitation among those who hadn’t been resettled yet. S.Karapetyan’s telegram reported that Armenia wasn’t able to receive them as they had broken the rules of resettlement set by government.
As a result of the fuss made by the Armenian SSR in connection with the returnees, the leaders of the Azerbaijan SSR demanded a statement on returnees from the republican Resettlement department. The statement noted that the number of families getting back to Armenia wasn’t 376, as S.Karapetyan’s telegram stated, it was 215. It was pointed out that in 1948-1950 only 8 018 families (34 382 men) had been resettled from Armenia.
Due to S.Karapetyan’s telegram dated May 29, the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR on June 7 of the same year issued a decree. During discussion of the issue at the Council of Ministers the case of the Azeris’ return was treated as a tragedy. All the blame was placed on the Resettlement Department of the Azerbaijan SSR, the event was evaluated from the political standpoint, the leaders of the Resettlement Department was accused of “political illiteracy” and was punished for this.
According to the decision of the Council of Ministers of the Republic, in June-July of the same year headed by N.Alakhverdiyev the members of the Resettlement Department of the Azerbaijan SSR were delegated to Armenia, with the goal to update together with the regional Executive Committees the returnees’ lists. It was made clear that by June 1, 1951, the number of returned families was 217 (872 men), but not 376. Submitted to the Council of Ministers of the Republic the statement of the Resettlement Department reported that S.Karapetyan’s telegram also included to the settlers’ lists the names of the persons who during the resettlement were in detention and were serving in the army. The statement noted that within 1948-1950 only in checked by them regions more than 1000 families had left the Armenian SSR on their own will, leaving behind a public property, they had resettled to different regions of Azerbaijan.
On January 17, 1952, the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR issued a decree: “On resettlement plans to the Azerbaijan SSR for 1952 and preparation of housing for the settlers”. The decree noted that in 1951 the construction of houses for the resettlement had failed. The plan intended to resettle 1 100 families, in fact, 909 families were resettled and only 82.6 % of the resettlement plan was implemented. It was suggested by plan to construct 5 000 dwelling houses in 1951, but in reality 3 704 houses were built and put into operation and the plan implemented its only 74.1 %.
The decree intended to resettle to the Kura-Araks lowland, in 1953, 1 200 families, 600 of them had to arrive from the Armenian SSR and 600 was to be arranged by internal resources of the Republic. It was suggested to construct 2 500 dwelling houses for that year.
In 1953, after Stalin’s death the resettlement rates from the Armenian SSR to the Kura-Araks lowland fell. The reverse process began. The population, resettled to Azerbaijan, was getting back. In 1954 the process even more intensified. The officials of the Armenian SSR were strongly against that. In April 1954, the delegation of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Azerbaijan SSR headed by the Deputy Minister M.Poladov visited the regions of the Armenian SSR, which were populated by Azerbaijanis, with a view to clarify the reasons of their return. Their statement noted that the main reason of return had been explained by lack of necessary living conditions in the Kura-Araks lowland and inability of the Azerbaijani settlers’, coming from the mountains of Armenia, to get adapted to a local climate. According to their information by April 1954 1 155 families had returned to their former places of living. The statement suggested taking definite measures to stop further return of the settlers.
Written to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan and to the Council of Ministers of the Republic, the letter of the Minister of Agriculture of the Azerbaijan SSR of 14 October 1954 indicated that, in 1948-1953, 11 914 families (53 000 men) had been resettled from the Armenian SSR to the Kura-Araks lowland of the Republic. That statement pointed out the list of families, resettled to the 18 regions of the Kura-Araks lowland, separate lists of settlers and the number of able-bodied people.
As it’s seen from the documents many Azerbaijani families, who were horrified by planned resettlement to the plains of the Kura-Araks lowland, on their own will soon started to leave massively the Armenian SSR, getting to the other regions of Azerbaijan. In February 1948, the resident of the village of Zod, the Basarkechar region, the Armenian SSR, Bala Qadzhiyev visiting personally the Chair of the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR, T.Kuliyev, on behalf of his villagers asked to approve the resettlement of 100 families to the Khanlar region of Azerbaijan. Their request was approved and within the same year 100 families were relocated to the Khanlar region.
On April 27 of the same year, the secretary of the Nakhichevan Regional Committee, the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Azerbaijan, Y.Yusifov to his letter, addressed to the Central Committee of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Azerbaijan, attached a protocol made at the general meeting of farmers (kolkhozniks) of the village Elyas, Zangibasar region, the Armenian SSR. Attended by 220 farmers (kolkhozniks) the general meeting adopted an appeal to the leaders of the Nakhichevan ASSR with a request to resettle 150 families in the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic. The appeal adopted by farmers (kolkhozniks) said: “Our collective farm is rich. To divide the collective farm between some villages is improper. The agricultural might of the collective farm will be preserved, if it’s replaced as a whole somewhere to a definite place. We can adapt to the climate and water of the Norashen region. Soon we can start planting activities. For this we have both cattle to plough and seeds. We ask the Supreme Council of the Nakhichevan ASSR and the Council of Ministers of the Nakhichevan ASSR to allow the members of our collective farm (Kolkhozniks) to settle in the villages of Shangiley and Darakand of the Norashan region.”
Y.Yusifov asked the Central Committee of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Azerbaijan to approve an additional acceptance of 150 families more (only 3 000 families) to the Norashen region.
In September of 1949, the farmers from the village of Sheky, Sisiansky region, sent a letter to the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR, their letter asked for permission to resettle to the Shakhbuz region of the Nakhichevan ASSR. Over the same period the members of the collective farm (kolkhoz) named after S.Aqamalioqly, the Akhtinsky region, the Armenian SSR, asked the Council of Ministers of the Republic to allow them to resettle to the Azerbaijan SSR. As a reply to the request the Resettlement Department stated that as the Shakhbuz region was not within the Kura-Araks lowland, the residents of the village Sheki couldn’t be settled to that place by government properly. However the residents of the collective farm (kolkhoz) named after S.Aqamalioqly, the Akhtinsky region, had the right to resettle to any place of the Kura-Araks lowland.
In November of 1949 the Chair of the Executive Committee, the Vedinsky region, A.Mamedov reported to the Chair of the Council of Ministers of the Armenian SSR that within the period of 1948-1949 only from the Vedinsky region 700 Azerbaijani families had resettled to the different regions of Azerbaijan on their own will. He wrote that only for the last fifteen days 75 families on their own will had left for Azerbaijan and the number of such settlers was growing day by day. Despite the appeals of the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR, the Soviet government refused to provide the benefits under the Decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR of 23 December 1947 to the population which had resettled to the areas not belonging to the Kura-Araks lowland: Kedabak, Kazakh, Shamkhor, Safaraliyev, Kirovabad, Khanlar, Kuba, Dastafur, to the village of Mashtaga in Baku and to the Azizbekov region. Because of this the life of the people resettled to these regions became even more unbearable.
According to the Resettlement department, it was found by members of the department that from some regions of the Armenian SSR only within the period of 1948-1950 more than 1000 families relocated and settled on their own will in various regions of Azerbaijan. It is our view that taking into account all above said it’s clear that within the period of 1948-1953 more than 100 thousand Azerbaijanis were resettled or had to resettle from the Armenian SSR to Azerbaijan.
Regarding the topic we’d like to consider one very important aspect. If the Azeri population resettled from the highland regions of the Armenian SSR had been settled in the corresponding for the environment regions of Nagorny Karabakh, then it would have been quite fair and in all conscience. But it didn’t happen. According to the note made on 15 January 1949 based on the results of the Azeri population’s resettlement conditions inspection in the three villages of the Martuny region of Nagorny Karabakh, the settlers from the Armenian SSR had sufferings and as a result – they were forced to leave Nagorny Karabakh.
Consequently, none of the Azerbaijanis, resettled in 1949-1953 from the Armenian SSR, could live in Nagorny Karabakh, on the contrary, 132 families, 549 Azerbaijanis were resettled from Nagorny Karabakh to the Khanlar region on the pretext of inner resettlement in 1949. Thus, as it had been planned and meant to be, the mission of liberation the territory to create “greater Armenia” was on. There’s a historical material documenting a true nature of the Armenian leaders, contaminated with chauvinism and nationalism. That was Mokhsun Poladov’s report, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Azerbaijan SSR, written to the chair of the Council of Ministers of the republic in April 1954 following his business trip to the Armenian SSR. In 1949, the collective farm in the Azerbaijani village of Lambaly was closed according to the illegal order of S.Karapetyan, Chair of the Council of Ministers of the Armenian SSR. As the area was climatically suitable, the 225 Azerbaijani families were expelled from the area on the pretext of creation of a brand new state farm (sovkhoz) for growing subtropical plants. In the coldest winter days of December 1949, the Azerbaijani population, expelled from Lambaly, sheltered in one of the Azerbaijani villages of the Georgian SSR. However, in a few days they lost their shelters on the orders of the Georgian SSR’s authorities. By S.Karapetyan’s order the people from Lambaly, who had decided to get back to their own village, were banned to enter the territory, and they were sent to the Basarkachar region. The houses of the Lambaly people were shared among the Armenian families, who had resettled to these lands. The Armenian vandals, who had perpetrated numerous unseen atrocities in the XX century, completely destroyed the Azerbaijani cemetery in Lambaly and used its stones to build new houses.
As the Lambaly people didn’t expect any help from the leaders of the Azerbaijan SSR, in three months they decided to relocate from the Basarkachar region to the border of Armenia and Georgia, where they constructed earth-houses just off Lambaly. Up to the beginning of 1954, they suffered in harsh conditions, but yet they didn’t want to accept the injustice they were experiencing. Following Stalin’s death with the aim to return taken from them houses, they wrote letters, reports and telegrams to Moscow, addressing them to Q.M.Malenkov, a new appointed Chair of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Thus as a result of the 4 years’ confrontation the Lambaly people won and returned to their own village.
Unfortunately, while the Azerbaijanis were harassed, humiliated, insulted and expelled under thousands of pretexts in Armenia, in Azerbaijan the people of the Armenian nationality met all kinds of comfort in all spheres of life of the Republic.
For many years in Azerbaijan the Armenians were highly represented in all official levels, in state and public positions. They worked as secretaries of the Central Committee and the Baku Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan (and even as the first secretaries), they held high-level positions of deputies, heads of departments, ministers, committee chairs, heads of offices and the other positions at the Central Executive committee of Azerbaijan, the Supreme Council, the Council of People’s Commissars and the Council of Ministers. All this is the result of the fact that the leadership of Azerbaijan since the first years of the soviet power had always been blind to the Armenian offences, hadn’t taken any decisive measures to stop them, and the leadership of the USSR had created all necessary opportunities for Armenians.
Expressing his attitude to such kind of insensitivity, unconsciousness, our national leader Heydar Aliyev speaking about deportations of 1948-1953, noted: “That’s right, our people went through a lot of loss within the 70 years. We must remember that, the next generations also must remember that, to stop such kind of actions, betrayal and aggression against Azerbaijan”.
RISE OF THE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT IN THE ARMENIAN SSR,
THE BEGINNING OF THE NAGORNY KARABAKH CONFLICT,
COLLAPSE OF THE USSR,
AZERBAIJANIS’ EXPULSION FROM THE ARMENIAN SSR
a) Rise of the nationalist movement in the Armenian SSR in 1960-1970.
Following the Azerbaijanis’ deportation from the Armenian SSR in 1948-1953, the Armenians tried to find new ways for living there Azerbaijanis’ expulsion and were engaged in a hidden activity to annex Nagorny Karabakh to Armenia. Though during N.S.Khrushov’s reign the attitude to Azerbaijanis living in the Armenian SSR was mainly peaceful, yet the peace didn’t last long.
As the 50-year anniversary of the events of 1915, called by Armenians “Mets yeqerny” (“great massacre”) was approaching, Armenians began to demonstrate their territorial claims quite openly. Especially soon after the Crimea had been transferred to the Ukrainian SSR, the issue of unification the Nagorny Karabakh Autonomous Oblast and the Nakhichevan ASSR with Armenia was included in the agenda. There is information that during one of the confidential discussions according the decrees adopted and sent to Moscow by the Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia, in 1962-1963, on territorial claims of Armenia towards Turkey and Azerbaijan, to A.Mikoyan’s request to transfer the Nagorny Karabakh Autonomous Oblast to Armenia N.S.Khrushov replied: “I’m ready to provide 12 thousand military trucks to resettle Armenians of the Nagorny Karabakh Autonomous Oblast to Armenia within one day”.
However after N.Khrushov’s removal from the office, in 1964, in Armenia, the preparation activity to the 50-year anniversary of the so-called “Mets yeqerny” was widened. All the propaganda in Armenia was devoted to this goal. It was stated that the government of Turkey and the Turkish people had been responsible for the events of “the Armenians’ genocide”, which happened in 1915. The propaganda like this was on in all the work communities, collective farms and state farms, universities, secondary schools and even in the primary schools. They were showing films, publishing books to raise contempt against the Turkic-Muslim population. The media, television and radio were making a number of shows, where the Armenian people were presented as exclusively wise and their neighbors as barbarians.
Matters even reached a point where Armenia judged the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR about its having no claims against channels and other areas of Turkey after the war of 1941-1945, for Armenia, no single state, except Armenia itself, could make a statement regarding the territories that it was claiming for.
Habib Raqim and Sabir Asadov, the witnesses of the events, wrote that in Yerevan on the walls of the houses they were hanging published in hard copy the maps of the territories Armenia claimed for. The maps were telling “We call for unity”, “Revenge time”, “Our lands, our blood”, “24/IV-1965”, etc. In Armenia the letter boxes of the Azerbaijanis together with ordinary letters used to contain papers with insults and dirty words.
Azerbaijanis faced insults and beating in the buses, markets, public places of Yerevan, Kirovakan, Kafan. The confrontation reached its peak in April 1965. The duty stations of Russian and Armenian soldiers were set in front of the Azerbaijanis’ houses; in the regions the mobile divisions were formed. In Yerevan, in the schools named after M.F.Akhundov and M.Azizbekov the classes were suspended in the second part of April. For a while Azerbaijanis stopped going to work, they were recommended not to take their products to the market.
According to Habib Ragim, during that period S.Arutunyan and S.Pogosyan were specially inflaming nationalist psychosis. They both were working as the first secretaries at the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia in the lead-up to the last events and were genocide perpetrators of the Azerbaijanis.
On 23-25 April 1965, the events reached their culmination. The witnesses of those events Habib Ragim and Sabir Asadov told that in the midst of the nationalist psychosis the Armenian people, diving into the streets, had been running as flow in the streets of Yerevan. In that regard Habib Ragim’s rebuke addressed to the leaders of the Soviet power was quite fair: “During that period of the Soviet power, a powerful State Security Committee was working… At the moment when the government of the Union could bring to their knees all the world, the perpetrators of extremism crying “Clean Armenia from Turks!”, “Unite with Armenia Nagorny Karabakh and Nakhichevan!”, “Revenge, revenge” went unpunished.
In February of the same year Armenians held celebrations devoted to the 100th anniversary of Andranik Ozanyan, the cruelest enemy of the Turkish people. The articles published in the papers, the broadcasts on radio and television were all about this gangster. The paper “Communist” of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia, published in Russian, placed M. Nersesyan’s, the academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR, large article entitled “People’s hero”.
In 1965, in Yerevan “the Committee for Armenia’s unification” was established, which became a harbinger of subsequently established committees “Karabakh” in Yerevan and “Krounk” in Nagorny Karabakh.
Within and beyond the republic Armenians initiated a new organizational and promotional activity, using the loyalty of the soviet government regarding the current events. Abroad they enhanced a wide promotional and terroristic activity against Turks, and within a short time lots of new Armenian terroristic organizations were established. Since 1972, “Secret Armenian army for Armenia’s freedom” (ASALA), “New Armenian opposition” (AQOA), “Fair justice group against the genocide over the Armenian people”, “The Armenian troops against genocide”, “Armenian national movement of October 3” and the other Armenian terroristic organizations had held acts of terrorism against Turks and Turkish diplomats in different corners of the world. Since that period in most countries of the world the victims of organized by Armenians acts of terrorism had become not only Turks, but also the Americans, Swedes, Frenchmen, Jews, Spanish and representatives of other nations. By remaining true to their policies, the Armenian terrorists used to kill even the Armenians themselves, who prevented them from achieving their goals. By justifying their terroristic activity, the Armenians used to speak to the Western media, trying to prove that their activity related to “a blood feud” between them and Turks.
As a result of a secret propaganda held by Armenia during that period, the Armenian nationalism became especially visible even in the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO). The Azerbaijanis were harassed there, the Armenians opposed to distribute funds among the regions which had been allocated in 1967 to help the regions with the Azerbaijani population. The same year in Stepanakert several Azerbaijanis were killed by Armenians.
Since 1965 the ideological propaganda among the population in the Armenian SSR had taken a direction of nationalist psychosis. The writers like S.Khanzanyan, S.Kaputikyan, Z.Balayan, G.Emin and the others especially worked hard for this. The Armenian historians-nationalists create in this vein their “new works”. In 1972, in Yerevan, the historian V.A.Parsamyan published a book “History of the Armenian people. Years 1801-1900”, Zoriy Balayan wrote and published in 1984 a book “Hearth”, full of lie and hatred towards Turks. The books were disseminated by Armenians not only in Armenia, but also all across the former USSR.
The books by S.Mkrtchan entitled “Architectural monuments of Nagorno-Karabakh” (Yerevan, 1985) and by A.Ayvazyan entitled “The memorial monuments and relief of Nakhichevan” (Yerevan, 1987) were published. In the books there is no single word about the fact that Nakhichevan and the Nagorny Karabakh are the territories of Azerbaijan. The books tried to show Nakhichevan as a historical Armenian region, and Nagorno-Karabakh as a part of Armenia.
The materials, published by central press of the USSR, often presented Nagorny Karabakh as a part of Armenia.
Thus, in the ideological aspect the Armenian nationalists were looking for appropriate moment and time to launch their activity, at the same time preparing the Armenian people to a new nationalist psychosis. In 1985, the adventurer M.Qorbachov’s coming to power revived the Armenian lobby in Moscow. By M.Qorbachov’s advice, who long before his coming to power had been under the Armenian influence still in Stavropol, the Armenians revived their activity not only in Moscow, but in all the regions of the country. In the short term the representatives of the Armenian lobby took positions in the supreme government bodies of the country. A.Aqanbekyan, Q.Shakhnazarov, K.Brutentz dropped anchor next to M.Qorbachov, but Sitaryan and Khachaturov worked with the Prime Minister N.Rijkov. During those years the central press was trying to fuel nationalist and ethnic confrontations. Still in 1987 Iqor Belyayev in his article “Islam” in “The literary paper” was openly writing: “For our country Islam is at the enemy position, it is dangerous; Muslims are insidious and corrupt people”.
In the articles “The price of narcissism” and “Only friendship makes good”, published in the newspapers “Pravda” (“Truth”) in February and May of 1987 regarding the mess in Alma-Ata in December of 1986, the body of the Central Committee blamed Kazakhs and Kyrgyzs for “the national insularity tendency, the national snobbery moods”. M.Qorbachov appointed the incompetent Q.Kolbin as a head of Kazakhstan, and the case as Bzhezinsky noted “became the first incompetent and provocative decision leading to formation of “national and interethnic conflicts”.
The western countries having seen M.Qorbachov’s such an activity and realizing that it was the right time to interfere in the affairs not only of Transcaucasia but of all the USSR, brought to bear again “the Armenian issue”, which they had always kept in reserve to impact on Armenians. In June 1987 the parliament of Europe without participation of the soviet community established “The Armenians’ genocide Memorial Day in Armenia”. In Yerevan the obelisk in the memory of victims and settlers of 1915 was opened prematurely. Everyone who attended the monument was inspired a sense of hatred against Turkey and Turks, with a demand calling them to repentance. According to U.Pompeyev, Z.Balayan and S.Kaputikyan, who weren’t hiding in their writings an enormous hatred against Turks, noted that it referred also to their neighbors, Azerbaijanis, called by them “Turks”.
Surely, during those years Armenians were seriously preparing for the case, all over the world they were promoting their case. However Haydar Aliyev’s presence in the government bodies stopped them from operating openly. Only with Haydar Aliyev’s exit from power in October 1987 they started to attack openly Azerbaijanis.
M.Qorbachov’s economic advisor A.Aqanbekyan, visiting France in November 1987, during a meeting with the Armenian lobby to their question of possibility to attach Nagorny Karabakh to the territory of Armenia, according to the article dated November 18 in the French newspaper “HUMANITY”, replied: “As an economist, I think that from an economic standpoint it is connected with Armenia more than with Azerbaijan. According the case I made suggestions. Hope, that the problem will be solved under reforms (perestroyka) and development of democracy”.
In October of the same year, about a month before A.Aqanbekyan’s arrival in Paris, in Yeravan, in the park named after A.Pushkin the leaders of the committee “Karabakh” Iqor Muradyan and Leon Ter-Petrosyan couldn’t gather then more than 250 people to their first rally. First their battle hymn was played: “And today Karabakh really needs living idols”, “We’ll be able to defy both death and a fear of prison to save our Karabakh”. S.Kaputikyan called the rally as “the start of reforms, social mass’ revitalization”.
Generally, the emissaries, coming from Yerevan to Karabakh, were carrying out propaganda activities during the whole 1987 at the industrial enterprises, in the villages with the Armenian population, gathering signatures to attach the autonomous region to Armenia. Across the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast the works of the Azerbaijani authors were withdrawn from the libraries. The book “Hearth” by Z.Balayan published in a mass edition became a handbook for the Armenian families.
b) Beginning of the Karabakh events, Armenians turn from words to deeds.
Right at the moment when Armenians realized that they had done all the preliminary work, it was time to turn from words to deeds and on February 20, 1988, the NKAO Council of National Deputies held an extraordinary session. At the session there were no Azeri national deputies from the oblast. Following long discussions the extraordinary session, “taking into account the state of the Armenian population of Nagorny Karabakh”, took a decision to address to the Supreme Councils of the Azerbaijan SSR and the Armenian SSR and to ask them to consider the issue of the NKAO’s withdrawal from the Azerbaijan SSR and its annexation to the Armenian SSR.
On the subject U.Pompeyev wrote, that during that period the correspondents for the newspapers “Pravda” (“Truth”) and “Izvestiya” (“News”) were trying to learn from the Karabakh Armenians: what were the exact advantages of the NKAO’s annexation to the Armenian SSR? Without considering Aqanbekyan’s “economic feasibility”, the interviewers were replying as follows: “How can we talk about different calculations when it comes to sacred thing?” Whereas Sero Khanzadyan was frightening the people: “No Karabakh, no reforms”.
It is noteworthy that at this very moment leadership of the Azerbaijan Republic instead of taking urgent measures was at a loss, was doing nothing, but waiting for instructions from Moscow. The article published in the paper “Bakinsky rabochiy” (a Baku worker) dated 23 February 1988 reported that: “The Nagorny Karabakh Autonomous Oblast has been dynamically developing. The railways, electricity lines, as the major artery, closely link the NKAO with Azerbaijan. There are lots of industrial enterprises operating in the region. According to the facts, the NKAO is far above the average across the republic by major economic and social performance”.
From that very moment in the city of Stepanakert the rallies start to take place. The rally participants chanted: “Lenin, the party, Qorbachov”. That was something new in the arsenal of Qorbachov’s reforms: pressure from below, mass’ despotism.
The rally participants were asked by the journalists: “Azerbaijanis are one quarter of the population in Nagorny Karabakh, what about them?” In reply they heard: “What are all these questions for? They just need to be explained that nothing bad can happen with the NKAO’s transfer”. U.Pompeyev wrote: “You don’t need to ask them (Azerbaijanis – Atakhan Pashayev), explain them, as they are foolish creatures”.
Published in Nagorny Karabakh the newspaper “Sovetskiy Karabakh” (The Soviet Karabakh), regional radio and television programs were spreading different lies and tales about Azerbaijan and Azeris. The Armenian propaganda machine operated not only in Karabakh, Armenia, Soviet Union, but all across the world.
The journalists arriving in Stepanakert were demanded: “Write only positive things about us, or write nothing at all”, to the question “What can we write on bad things?” they had a reply: “You can write bad things about Azerbaijanis”.
And really very soon the Armenians’ “clever advice” was reflected in the central press. If earlier in the press news on national movements was characterized as “spontaneously emerging”, afterwards the articles with such interpretation of events gradually disappeared.
The journalists of the newspaper “Izvestiya” (“News”), delegated to Karabakh, in their article headed “A meeting after rally” dated 24 March 1988 wrote, that going on a mission they set themselves a goal: “We’ll be objective, won’t accept anyone’s side, will resist false impressions”. The Armenians asked us: “What prevents you from writing the reality?” Actually nothing was. In fact, if a main motto of many thousands of rallies, held in February day and night within two weeks, was connected with a demand of the NKAR’s withdrawal from the Azerbaijan SSR and its annexation to the Armenian SSR, they reasoned that by social-economic, ethnic, historic-cultural affairs”.
Such rallies, but with more number of people, were held not only in Nagorny Karabakh, but in Yerevan too. The committees were established to organize and hold rallies both in Stepanakert and in Yerevan. The committee in Yerevan was named as “Karabakh”, and in Stepanakert as “Krunk” (“Crane”).
Talking to the rally participants, the journalists tried to make them understand that for resolution of the issue it wasn’t enough to have a vote only of the Armenians of Nagorny Karabakh, according to the Constitution of the USSR at first the issue had to be solved by the Supreme Councils of the Azerbaijan SSR and the Armenian SRR, and only after that it had to be reviewed at the Supreme Council of the USSR. Then “Krunk” committee member, lieutenant colonel in store, A.Lachichyan stated: “In this case we’ll get rid of our party cards” and the associate professor of the Stapanakert Pedagogical Institute Q.Qriqoryants said: “We’ll start a guerrilla war”. In Yerevan S.Khanzadyan stated: “If we have no Karabakh, then we don’t need any reforms”. The journalists wrote ironically regarding the Armenians’ replies: “That is a real democracy – everything is known beforehand”.
It’s interesting that at the very beginning of the Karabakh events the most part of the central press bodies either didn’t realize that the real reason for eruption of the conflict was the national psychosis, desire to separate Nagorny Karabakh from Azerbaijan, or they intentionally took Armenians’ side. According to the newspaper “Komsomolskaya pravda” (Komsomols’ truth), the Armenians were waiting for a fair decision regarding what they had written and reported on difficulties in the social situation of the autonomous oblast. And as no reaction came, “The movement to unite Nagorny Karabakh with Armenia was created”. The CC of the CPSU and the Ministers’ Council of the USSR on 24 March 1988 adopted a special resolution: “On measures to develop the social economic status of the Nagorny-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast of the Azerbaijan SSR during 1988-1995”. The resolution stated that “the CC of the CPSU and the Ministers’ Council of the USSR point out that due to brotherly assistance of all Union peoples, the NKAO could succeed highly in social and economic spheres. National economic, material and technical support was strengthened. Only during the last five years the industrial output in the region increased more than three times, the agricultural output increased in 1,5 times… The population’s provision of housing, hospitals, libraries, clubs got better”.
Naturally, Armenians, whose goal was Nagorny Karabakh’s annexation to Armenia, could never agree with such statements. The Armenian chauvinists, quite skilled in propaganda, made up mind-boggling tales on Azerbaijan and Azeris, published them in foreign and central press of the USSR, in the newspapers “Pravda” (truth), “Izvestiya” (news), “Trud” (labour), “Sovetskaya kultura” (the Soviet culture), “Literaturnaya qazeta” (the literary paper), “Moskovskiye novosti” (the Moscow news), “Arqumenti i fakti” (arguments and facts), “Komsomolskaya pravda” (Komsomols’ truth), in the magazine “Drujba narodov” (peoples’ friendship) and in the other newspapers and magazines. Besides the Western press, they used the provocative Western radio stations “Svoboda” (freedom), “The Voice of America”, “BBC”, successfully implementing their nationalistic propaganda there.
Following the adoption of the resolution on social-economic development of the NKAO by the CC of the CPSU and the Ministers’ Council of the USSR, in Yerevan, at “Karabakh” committee’s session, during discussion of the resolution it was pointed out that “in case the leadership of Azerbaijan meets the requirements, Armenia will never see Nagorny Karabakh”.
To circumvent the current constitution of the USSR and the constitution of the Union Republics, for Nagorny Karabakh’s annexation to Armenia the committee “Karabakh” put forward different absurd ideas. One of them was that first the Karabakh Armenians would leave the USSR, then with the help of the soviet government they would enter it already within the Armenian SSR. But as the NKAO had no right of leaving the USSR, in this case the Armenian SSR itself, by leaving the USSR, would announce about its becoming a part of the Nagorno-Karabakh oblast and would establish a new republic Artsakh with its center in the city of Stepanakert.
The ideas like this showed Armenians’ true nature and proved that the real reason of their desire regarding the secession of the NKAO from Azerbaijan wasn’t connected with the difficulties of social-economic character, but for the desire to separate it from Azerbaijan and annex it to Armenia. This idea was fully opened up in S.Kaputikyan’s speech, one of the ideologists of the Karabakh movement, which was addressed to the representatives of science, culture and press of Russia and published by Russian emigration press on 5 April 1988.
In her speech referred to the leadership of the USSR M.Qorbachov and N.Rijkov, she was writing: “Dear M.S.Qorbachov and N.I.Rijkov, who has signed the resolution, must be surprised, why the people of Nagorny Karabakh isn’t glad with such a generous, profitable resolution and continues to insist on its desire to separate from Azerbaijan. Well, instead of annexation to Armenia, it’s been promised “to have reforms in the social-economic sphere”. What is more, the realization of the reforms has been entrusted to different ministries and organizations of Azerbaijan. The Karabakh people really know the cost of such reforms”.
c) The mass expulsion of the Azerbaijanis living in the Armenian SSR.
The events began as early as in 1988, when on January 25, February 18 and 23, another group of expelled from Armenia Azerbaijanis arrived in Azerbaijan. There were about 4 thousand arriving people. Unfortunately, the leadership of Azerbaijan was hiding this fact from the people. Neither Azerbaijan, nor the central press published news regarding the case. Even before the Sumqayit events the Armenians had killed two Azerbaijanis in Askeran. Neither local, nor the central press also did report about it. Planned by Armenian nationalists the news on Sumqayit tragedy spread at lightning speed not only across the former USSR, but throughout the world. Made in advance by Armenians movies and video films were shown all around the world. Azerbaijanis were shown there as “wild”, “cannibals” and “bloodsuckers”.
96 men, some of them were sentenced to death and gunned down, were convicted of a crime for killing 26 men of the Armenian origin in Sumqayit. But the world community and the most part of the population in Azerbaijan never knew anything about the Armenians, who brutally murdered 217 Azerbaijanis in Armenia. Upon request from the Chair of the Supreme Council of the Azerbaijan SSR and the Prosecutor General of Azerbaijan to the Prosecution Office of the USSR, it was discovered that the investigation of bloody events in Armenia unlike the investigation of the Sumqayit events wasn’t conducted by Prosecution Office of the USSR, the case was entrusted to the law enforcement authorities of Armenia. And from 530 ongoing criminal proceedings only for 200 were initiated, from 91 accused men only for 53 were opened criminal proceedings. Upon 48 cases 82 men were subject to court proceedings, from them 31 men were sentenced to imprisonment for varying durations. Only 30 men had a minimum punishment for the 217 massacred men.
The preparation of the processes wasn’t random. In autumn of 1988, at one of the many thousands rallies held in the theatre square of Yerevan the Associate Member of the Academy of Sciences of Armenia Rafael Kazaryan stated: “For the first time in decades we have a unique opportunity to clean Armenia”.
U.Pompeyev wrote: “The defenceless, unarmed Azerbaijanis used to be kicked out of the houses without clothes and belongings: “Get out of Armenia, damned Turks”.
In March of 1989, 13 Azerbaijani deputies of the Supreme Council of Armenia and 176 local councils deputies adopted an appeal to the People’s Deputies of the Supreme Council of the USSR, relevant authorities of the government of the USSR, all peoples of the world and to the Azerbaijani people: “About brutal expulsion of the deputies of township, village, city, regional councils, the Supreme Council of the Armenian SSR and their Azerbaijani voters from their places of origin and their humiliation by Armenian extremists in February-December of 1988”. The appeal stated: “In fact, the ardent Armenian nationalists planned to get rid of the other nations in their Republic and to announce December 10, 1988, as the day of “The Armenian Republic without Turks”.
To achieve the goal Armenians used skillfully means of intimidation and causing panic among the unarmed population. The operations were organized and conducted under the direct supervision of the Republic’s governing bodies. The appeal outlined, that for achievement of the goals, with the blessing of the republican leadership the extremists by intimidating the Azerbaijanis, instilling fear and horror among them, compelled them to leave the Armenian SSR; using means of economic impact, limited their bread, products and goods of basic necessity; by insulting treatment, beating and robbing Azerbaijanis, who were going to the towns and regional centers to buy foodstuffs; ruining their cemeteries, historical monuments, making bandit attacks in weddings and other festivities and by lots of other means they were getting things done. These actions took mass character in Massis, Vardenis, Idjevan, Ararat regions. In the areas with high concentrations of Azerbaijanis and the regions, where they constituted the major part of the population, the Azerbaijanis were kept far away from the managerial positions on their profession. In spite of the leading role of the Azerbaijanis in agriculture and though there were dozens of highly qualified professionals among them in the agricultural industry, there was no worker of the Azerbaijani origin at the Republic’s State Committee on agriculture-based industry. As a result of prejudice, the Azerbaijanis with high education had to leave the places of origin to get jobs. Those who tried to oppose this policy were forced to remain silent; even at the places where the Azerbaijanis constituted the major part of the population, they had no opportunity to listen to the programs of the Baku radio, etc.
The real genocidal policy was to expel from Armenia 200 thousand Azerbaijanis in 1988-1989. The plan thoroughly being prepared for many years was being realized. Specially trained Armenian bandit troops of bearded men cold-bloodedly beat, tortured, and tormented the innocent old men, women, babies, killing them brutally with unreal ways.
The members of the supreme bodies of the USSR government, who received numberless complaints on the Armenians’ bloody actions, remained indifferent; the Armenian criminals were entrusted to deal with them. The faceless, unscrupulous Azerbaijani leaders violently forced the arrived Azerbaijani refugees to get on cars and go back to the bearded Armenians. The leadership of the Republic used to congratulate our people with the Armenians’ return, who had left Azerbaijan earlier.
In May of 1988 the deputy of the Supreme Council of the Armenian SSR Khuraman Aliyeva and the writer Farman Karimzadeh tried to reach the authorities of Moscow to tell them about the desperate situation of the Azerbaijanis in Armenia. Generally, the complaints and appeals of dozens of Azerbaijani delegations from different Armenian regions to the state bodies of the supreme power of the USSR, to the party leaders and policymakers regarding the terrible violent actions planned against thousands of people went unheeded. The reason for such attitude towards them, the Azerbaijanis saw, first of all, in the leader of the USSR M.Qorbachov, in surrounding him the anti-Azerbaijani activity, in the Shakhnazarovs, the Aqanbekyans, the Brutents, who rooted in Moscow, the other representatives of the Armenian lobby, that took the capital and conducted the activity.
The appeal of 13 deputies of the Supreme Council of the Armenian SSR and 176 deputies of local councils fairly indicated, that “the troubles, the Azerbaijanis had, were being realized as planned. All the Armenian population ranging from the leaders of party and state bodies of the Armenian SSR to school students participated in the events. The Republic’s leaders supervised certain regions and the regional leaders supervised certain villages”.
Initially, the leaders of the Republic drove around the regions, villages forcing the Azerbaijanis to leave. Then the administrative authorities arrived and violently kicked out the people. On the roads they used to be attacked by Armenian bandits; the armed bearded-men robbed, killed and burnt them. These criminals used to cut the earrings together with the women’s ears and the rings together with the fingers”.
Even the devastating earthquake happened in Spitaks region, on 7 December 1988, couldn’t stop them, as the nationalism, the euphoria of getting the Azerbaijanis out of Armenia and occupation of Karabakh simply clouded the Armenians’ views.
The People’s Deputy of the USSR, the First Secretary of the Spitaks regional committee party Norik Muradyan, who the day before the earthquake demanded to expel the residents of the Qursaly village, the Spitaks region, didn’t provide any assistance to the population of the village, affected by the earthquake, from 7 up to 16 December. 10 days later with D.Asanov’s help, the Deputy Chair of the Ministers’ Council of the Azerbaijan SSR, the Azerbaijani population of the village, after starvation and tortures, was saved and transported by helicopters to the Kazakh region of Azerbaijan.
Sent by Azerbaijan to Leninakan the plane with the rescuers crashed for the Armenians’ interference and 76 rescuers from 77 died. Survived F.Babyev was sent to the military hospital of Yerevan for treatment. As soon as the nationalist Armenians got information about him, they surrounded the hospital and threatened the medical staff with death for taking care of the Azeri.
In 1988-1991, about 250 thousand Azerbaijanis were expelled from the 185 Azerbaijani villages of Armenia. 51 thousand houses, belonging to the Azerbaijanis, the property of 165 collective farms (kolkhoz) and soviet farms (sovkhoz) were left for the Armenians, lots of Azerbaijanis’ livestock was taken by Armenians. 225 Azerbaijanis were killed, 1 154 men were injured, hundreds of people were tortured.
On 22 February 1992, upon the report of the Prosecution Office of the USSR and the operational entities of Azerbaijan the newspaper “Ulfat” published a list of the killed Azerbaijanis in the regions during their expulsion from Armenia. The list includes totally 216 men, there were 57 women, 5 infants and 18 children of different ages among them.
In contrast, the Armenians, leaving Azerbaijan, were driving away safe and sound, by selling at a bargain or exchanging their houses, and their property was transported at the expense of the government.
It’s interesting that only when the Azerbaijanis completely left Armenia, M.Qorbachov adopted a resolution on prevention of the refugee context. That was the period when the process of the Armenians’ mass leaving Azerbaijan started. The purpose of the resolution was to stop Armenians, to let them stay in Azerbaijan. And even in case the Armenians fled, their houses were protected in Baku by government. On the other hand, the Armenians, who stayed in Baku, didn’t go to work for months and yet they were getting not only salary but also bonus. The company leaders were dealt harshly for Armenians’ dismissal.
THE COLLAPSE OF THE USSR,
ARMENIA’S MILITARY AGGRESSION AGAINST AZERBAIJAN
a) Nagorny Karabakh and the surrounding regions occupation
by Armenian army.
Due to Qorbachov’s reforms (perestroyka) of 1985, the Armenians succeeded in occupying Nagorny Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
Haydar Aliyev’s resignation during the October plenary of 1987 only untied their hands. The reactions for the speech made by A.Aqanbekyan, M.Qorbachov’s economic adviser, addressed to the Armenian diaspora in France were not long in coming. Already on 13 February 1988, the first rally was held in front of the regional party committee building in Khankandy. About 400 men were participating at the rally. One could easily see on the faces a fear and confusion specific to Armenians. But the rally organizers, the members of the society “Krunk”, didn’t let them disperse.
The chair of the “Krunk” was Arkadiy Manucharov, Director of the Karabakh marble plant, well-known not only in Nagorny Karabakh, but all across Azerbaijan, as “an exceptionally generous man” for handing out marble. A.Manucharov called the rally as “a rally-request” addressed to the government and people of Azerbaijan.
According to Niyazi Qadzhiyev, the NKAO Bureau party committee member from the Shusha region, on February 18 of the same year, at the regional party committee Bureau session the Second Secretary of Azerbaijan’s CC of the CP V.Konovalov stated: “We know that the rallies are supervised by “Krunk”, and “Krunk” – is managed by some of sitting here regional leaders. Soon very strict and radical measures will be taken against the organizers”.
According to the State Security Committee of Azerbaijan, 11 decision-makers of Nagorny Karabkh led by Q.A.Poqosyan - the perpetrators of the events- had to be arrested. But, rather than to agree with this immediately, the First Secretary of Azerbaijan’s CC CP K.Baqirov phoned M.Qorbachov for consultation. M.Qorbachov disagreed with him. And it came evident at once that during V.Konovalov’s visit to Khankandy, the Armenians had already phoned Shakhnazarov in Moscow and conveyed V.Konovalov’s statement to M.Qorbachov.
On 19 February of the same year, the regional party committee had the extended Bureau. During discussions, when the Armenians told about socio-economic pressure on them, the Azerbaijani participants made them face the facts. What a socio-economic pressure it was, they pointed out, if among more than 100 executives in the system of the Agricultural and Industrial Committee, the chair of which was Q.Poqosyan, there was no Azeri, and from 300 employees of the municipal services system (janitors, workers, etc.) more than 200 men were Azerbaijanis.
On 23 February 1988, the delegation arrived from Moscow headed by the Secretary of the CC of the CPSU Q.Razumovsky held the Bureau and the plenary of the party committee in the NKAO with the participation of K.Baqirov and some Bureau members of Azerbaijan’s CC of the CP. The First secretary V.Qevorokov was dismissed and to his position Q. Poqosyan was appointed, the perpetrator of all bloody events happened in Nagorny Karabakh. That Q.Poqosyan had to be put in jail for all his economic “business” and for “services” in promoting nationalistic ideas, but instead he took a position of a first figure in the oblast. On February 25, at the special meeting of the organization “Krunk”, held by Q.Poqosyan, under the guise of gathering regional party committees’ activists, he called on the participants to raise people. He announced that in this case they would be supported by M.Qorbachov, S.Shakhnazarov and the others, the high-ranking Armenians living in Moscow.
On February 26, M.Qorbachov made a speech to the workers of Armenia and Azerbaijan. The words in the speech: “There have been considerable backlog of difficulties and deficiencies in the NKAO” and “We don’t want to skip an open discussion of various ideas and offers”, - encouraged Armenians to launch their activity.
On 27 February 1988, Karen Brutents, a person in charge of the CC of the CPSU (his father N.Brutents was a head of the division at the Ministers’ Council of the Azerbaijan SSR during deportation of 1947-1953) was delegated to Khankandy to settle the question. This man had been brought up in Nagorny Karabakh and had a life of tremendous privilege. In fact, instead of settling the question, almost a month he operated completely confidentially. After his return to Moscow, the Karabakh Armenians started to hold rallies not only in Khankandy, but in all the regional centers of the oblast.
The Armenians were seeking a pretext to start a fight. Sumqayit was chosen as a pretext. And it didn’t happen at random. It wouldn’t be so easy to arrange the events in the other towns of Azerbaijan. But Sumqayit had advantageous conditions for conducting such an operation as there were many criminals coming from all the nations of the former USSR.
During the Sumqayit events the crimes were committed not only by Azerbaijanis, but also by Russians, Lezgins, and Armenians. The Armenian Qriqoryan named Pasha showed a particular cruelty during those events. In short, the Sumqayit events “were a carefully planned special operation” hold by Armenians.
In the morning of that day all the radio stations were broadcasting “about Armenians killed by distraught of blood smell Azerbaijanis”. All the European and American TV channels were demonstrating “terrifying footage, describing the Sumqayit events”. In a day, a monument “to victims of the Sumqayit genocide” was put up in Khankandy.
Only on 3 March the first report on the Sumqayit events came to our Republic by Azerinform. Allegedly “a group of bullies in Sumqayit made troubles, causing mess, which turned to tragedy, there were casualties … The criminals have been arrested by the human rights bodies. The investigation team of the General Prosecutor’s Office of the USSR has taken measures for crimes investigation and prosecution of persons involved in crimes”.
Started with M.Qorbachov’s consent, the activity for Nagorny Karabakh’s annexation to Armenia was expanding over time. The Armenian diaspora abroad, the Armenian Gregorian church led by Echmiadzin church, which was spread all over the world, using the Sumqayit events as argument launched a wide propaganda against Azerbaijan.
On 23 March 1988, at the USSR Supreme Council deputies’ meeting chaired by A.Qromiko, in the Kremlin, according to the union republics’ appeals, discussions were held on the measures to be taken in connection with the events happening in Nagorny Karabakh, the Armenian SSR and the Azerbaijan SSR. The adopted decree stated: “It’s unacceptable to handle challenging national and territorial issues by creating the structures which stand for changing the national state borders, set by the Constitution of the USSR, and the national administrative changes by putting pressure on the government bodies, by fueling emotions and passions, as the attempts like these can bring to unexpected results”.
On March 28, the newspaper “Pravda” published an article titled as “There shouldn’t be any words like “mine-yours” between the brothers”, which was written by its journalist from Azerbaijan Z.Kadimbekov.
Unfortunately, starting from 1920, repeating “there shouldn’t be any “yours-mine” between the brothers”, we’ve lost so many lands and human lives.
While we had been living with such thoughts in Azerbaijan, already in March the bearded men with the blessing of the Armenian leaders expelled the terrorized Azerbaijanis from the Armenian SSR. They were looking for shelter in Azerbaijan. A part of the refugees found shelters in the sanatoriums, boarding-schools and rest houses of Shusha. However, the number of arriving ones was rising. The Azerbaijani population of Shusha and the other villages of Nagorny Karabakh opened their doors for the refugees.
As stated above in detail, on 24 March 1988, the CC of CPSU and the Ministers’ Council of the USSR adopted a special decree “On measures to strengthen social-economic development of the NKAO of the Azerbaijan SSR during 1988-1995”.
The executive committee of the town of Khankandy with his resolution taken on March 1988 officially stated about the confidential organization “Krunk”, which operated as a committee uniting Nagorny Karabakh with Armenia.
On April 24, according to the executive committee’s resolution the Khankandy town hosted a commemorative ceremony to honor the victims of “the Armenian genocide” of 1915, in which approximately 9 thousand Armenians took part.
The Armenians, who lost their hopes on the annexation of Nagorny Karabakh to Armenia by peaceful strikes, got ready for various types of terrorism, strong pressure and a war. On the pretext of social-economic cooperation Q.Poqosyan giving order to Yerevan for mine production, took charge of mine detectors production and made up a decision under any pretext to relocate the Shusha radio factory to Khankandy. For this he sent to Shusha Second Secretary of the regional party committee V.Malkov and the head of the party committee from the Karabakh silk factory Robert Kocharyan. But the Shusha people didn’t let them carry out the mission as they were aware of Armenians’ targets.
The same year on May 14, the Azerbaijanis also held a rally with 5 thousand people in Shusha. They expressed their protest in relation to the terrorist acts against the Azerbaijanis, against the Armenian storm troops posing as the troops of “self-defense”, to the inaction of the republic and union leadership against the extremists of the NKAO. The rally participants demanded the NKAO’s liquidation, a massive reinstatement of the dismissed Azerbaijanis to their former jobs and to put an end to separatism.
May 21, 1988, is inscribed with black letters to the history of the Azerbaijani people. Led by Shakhnazarovs and Brutents, A.Kh.Vezirov, called by people later “chatterbox”, surely with their assistance was “elected” as a first secretary of the Azerbaijan CC of the CP. On the same day in Yerevan S.Q.Arutyunyan was elected as a first secretary of the Armenian CC of the CP. The Secretary of the CC CPSU Y.K.Liqachov, who took part in the plenary session in Baku, stated that the annexation of the NKAO to Armenia was unacceptable, but during the plenary session in Yerevan A.Yakovlev announced that he supported Armenians for their democratic ideas.
Despite the change of both republics’ leaders, the relations between them were getting more complicated. To prevent clashes between the two peoples in Shusha and Khankandy, the military personnel led by Major General V.N.Safonov, chief of staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR for the Caucasus and the North Caucasus, located in Shusha and Khankandy.
On 13 June 1988 upon instruction from A.Vezirov, in Baku, working organisations from industrial companies, organisations, administrations and institutions held a rally. In his speech Vezirov stated: “Today’s rally – is the working Baku’s determined response to the previous provocations”. Calling the rally participants for calm Vezirov said: “Most part of refugees from Armenia returned to their home lands due to the work that had been done”. Yet, in fact, according to the official data of the Republic’s Statistical Office, 17 265 refugees have arrived in Azerbaijan from Armenia for 14 June 1988.
On 15 June 1988, the session of the Supreme Council of the Armenian SSR adopted a decree on Nagorny Karabakh’s annexation to Armenia. And on 16 June 1988, the 7th session of the 11th convening held by the Supreme Council of the Azerbaijan SSR adopted a decree about Nagorny Karabakh’s impossible withdrawal from the Azerbaijan SSR and its transfer to the Armenian SSR.
In that regard, on June 20, the urgent extraordinary session of the regional executive committee was convened in the NKAO. The purpose was to adopt a decree about withdrawal from Azerbaijan and replace the Azerbaijan flag into the Armenian one on the building of the regional executive committee. That day the Armenians gathering at the square were crying “miatsum”. General Krayev managed to make the most Armenians shut up and put the Azerbaijan flag back to its place.
All that time the Azerbaijanis living in the Armenian SSR were subjected to harassment and expulsion. According to “Armenpress” the Armenian SSR’s Ministry of Internal Affairs report, on June 19, the newspaper “Kommunist” reported that “on June 17 at about 9 pm, in the town of Masis, and also in the village of Sayat Nova, the Massis region, there were riot and the acts of hooliganism. The citizens weren’t injured, their lives aren’t in danger”.
Appointed by new leader of Azerbaijan A.Vezirov rather than concentrating on Nagorny Karabakh’s issue, took 2 ways for the case. First – to solve Nagorny Karabakh’s issue by satisfying Armenians, and second – to lead propaganda against Haydar Aliyev, the second work took much more of his time, than Nagorny Karabakh’s issue. Surely, he preferred to focus on the second direction, where he demonstrated a special activity. For instance, during the KPSU’s XIX All-union conference as first secretary of the CC’s Armenian Communist party S.Arutyunyan spoke about justice in the NKAO, A.Vezirov in his speech on the events happening in Nagorny Karabakh said: “The former leadership of the republic and the region should be blamed for the events happening in Nagorny Karabakh and around it. We are to change the situation in the political, social and economic spheres”.
But in reality even in July the situation in Khankandy still remained intense, the rallies continued to be held in the town. The Azerbaijanis massively expelled from Armenia took refuges in Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijanis arriving from Armenia were provided with temporary houses in 43 regions of the republic. Azerinform reported that “for today about 20 thousand people (more than 4 thousand families) have arrived from Armenia to Azerbaijan”.
During that time many refugees from Armenia took their ways to Shusha and Nagorny Karabakh’s Azerbaijani villages. It was terrifying the Armenians not only from Nagorny Karabakh, but also from Armenia. On July 4, 1988, the executive committee of the NKAO adopted a decree prohibiting to settle the refugees in Shusha and in the villages of Shusha, in connection with this the republic’s administration was raised an issue on taking decisive measures regarding the authorities of Shusha.
The flow of the refugees to Shusha could be stopped not only by the decree, but even by barriers put on their ways by administrative regional bodies. As to N.Gadjiyev, even the delegation of 4, headed by Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Armenian SSR Aslanyan, who arrived on the 6th of July, was concerned about the fact that the refugees from Armenia gathered in Shusha. After intense negotiations it was decided that the refugees either would stay in Shusha or would return to their homelands in Armenia. Aslanyan stated that it’d be better to return them to Armenia, than to keep them in Shusha, in Nagorny Karabakh. With such a decision they took way to Khankandy.
Obviously, as a result of a phone call from Khankandy to Moscow, to M.Gorbachov’s Armenian friends, A.Vezirov experienced strong pressure. On July 7, A.Vezirov phoned to the regional authority with a demand to send away the refugees from Shusha with a statement that M.Gorbachov had been informed about the Armenians’ harassment by refugees located in Shusha.
Upon instructions from A.Vezirov, despite the Shusha people and the refugees’ objections, during several days the refugees from Nagorny Karabakh, including more than 3 from 4 thousand refugees staying in Shusha were relocated to the other regions of the republic: Davachy, Lenkoran, Shamakha, Beylagan, Yevlakh, Kurdamir, Salyan, Neftchala, Astara, Shamkir, Khachmaz, Barda and Tartar. The Bureau members, ministers, committee chairs and the other officials were sent to Shusha by A.Vezirov to arrange the plan.
Meanwhile, the situation was worsening. In September some companies declared a strike and stop working not only in Khankandy and in the regional centers of Nagorny Karabakh, but even in the towns of Armenia: Yerevan, Leninakan, Abovyan, Charentsavan, Echmiadzin. From September 18 till 21, in Khankandy, the Azerbaijanis’ houses were being burnt down, the people were being beaten and kicked out to Shusha. In Shusha the reaction was adequate. On September 21, the state of emergency was declared in the NKAO and the Agdam region. Up to October 4 the Azerbaijanis, living in Nagorny Karabakh’s territories of Khankandy and Khodjaly, were beaten and forced to leave.
In November and December of the same year the situation was further exacerbated. In Baku, at the square “Azadliq” the crowded rallies took place. In the newspaper “Communist” for the first time Ilkham Ragimly and Shakhmar Alekperzadeh’s interview was published on the rally called “Indestructible will”. Aydin Mamedov during his speech at the rally stated: “It’s been ten months as the Azerbaijani people has had no rest. It’s been ten months as Nagorny Karabakh has turned to a source of tension. For ten months the Balayans, Kaputikyans, Khanzadyans, Aqanbekyans have been inflaming a discord, the secretary of the regional party committee Q.Poqosyan and his assistants ignore the Azerbaijan government”.
Taking advantage of worsening relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Armenians, in connection with the events happening in Nagorny Karabakh held “cleansing” in November-December that is a mass expulsion of the Azerbaijanis living in Armenia. Consequently, according to the state commission, 119 094 people arrived from Armenia to Azerbaijan for 8 December, for 14 December – 130 thousand people, and for 25 December more than 165 thousand Azerbaijanis.
The Azerbaijanis were the first who lent a helping hand during destructive earthquake which took place in Spitak and Leninakan, the Armenian SSR, on December 7. But even during that time Armenians didn’t stop thinking about the annexation of Nagorny Karabakh to Armenia and the Azerbaijanis’ expulsion from there. M.Qorbachov, who came to Armenia in connection with a natural disaster, during one of his interviews on a question regarding Nagorny Karabakh replied like this: “As to me, the problem of Karabakh exists in itself… The former administration of Azerbaijan on a definite stage made wrong actions in relation to this people, simply didn’t treat humanely towards them”.
The question on Nagorny Karabakh and the situation around it was dicussed in the midst of the Azerbaijan administration’s election preparations for peoples’ deputies of the USSR at the Presidency meeting of the USSR’s Supreme Council held on 12 January 1989 chaired by M.Qorbachov. A.Vezirov and S.Arutyunyan spoke at the meeting. According to the adopted decree Nagorny Karabakh kept its right of the autonomous oblast within the Azerbaijan SSR, it was considered appropriate to obtain a temporary form of Special management in the NKAR. But in reality, according to further events, it led to the separation of the NKAO from Azerbaijan.
A.Volskiy, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s (CPSU) Department Head, while retaining the position was appointed as a chair of the Committee for the NKAO’s Special management. The committee working in Azerbaijan consisted of 5 Russians, 2 Armenians and only one Azeri.
Using skilfully for their own targets the special management established in Nagorny Karabakh, the Armenians, particularly A.Volskiy, were preparing for new operations. On 28 January, A.Volskiy arrived in Yerevan, where he held a meeting with the Armenian administration concerning Nagorny Karabakh.
In February of the same year Karabakh Special Committee member V.Mishin in his interview to K.Zakharyan reporter of “Communist”, the paper published in the Russian language in Armenia, stated that “though the committee hasn’t been the most democratic establishment it’s going to use the most democratic ways during its activity”.
The next statement defines his understanding of the notion “democracy”: “Increasing rates of the local agriculture are neither caprice nor trend for us, but an important necessity. Today we’re making first steps towards independent unions’ creation. For instance, the decree has been adopted on transfer of the Stepanakert furniture factory into the company “The South Furniture”, which has top economic rates. The similar process is also fulfilled in the other ministries; the multi-system companies are at stake”.
On March 23 of the same year V.Mishin in the other interview to the reporter of the newspaper “The Soviet Karabakh” said that he respected the goals of the Karabakh movement, believing that there in Nagorny Karabakh the people, like elsewhere in the USSR, struggled from misrepresentation of the notion socialism. Also he noted that the depth of misrepresentation in Nagorny Karabakh was exacerbated by national rights violation. At present one of the main objectives set by the Karabakh management committee (KMC) – is to create good ties with Armenia, what is a principle objective for us, for this NKAO has been separated this year by USSR’s State Planning Committee as an independent economic unit in the national economic plan
However, all the work fulfilled by Committee led by A.Volskiy had no results. The reason was that the Armenians’ demand wasn’t connected with social-economic problems solution; it was connected with Nagorny Karabakh’s separation from Azerbaijan. In May of 1989, the newspaper “The Soviet Karabakh” wrote that it had been already 4 days as the industrial companies stopped their work, the lessons hadn’t been held at schools. Karabakh was a main topic for all the negotiations. To stop the rallies it was essential to satisfy the demand of NKAO’s separation from the Azerbaijan SSR”.
As A.Volsky’s Organizing Committee was gradually withdrawing the NKAO’s departments and companies from Azerbaijan’s jurisdiction, the Azerbaijanis’ locations were under the Armenian siege in the territory of Nagorny Karabakh, and finally were burnt down and demolished, the population was killed and expelled.
On 25 May 1989, the first congress of the USSR Peoples’ deputies launched its work. The deputies from the Armenian SSR and the NKAO joined the congress. From the start of the congress they took over the initiative regarding the NKAO. And following the congress they turned to an open struggle for Nagorny Karabakh. Chosen by A.Vezirov through old principles most Azerbaijani deputies were perhaps inexperienced in this case and weren’t properly trained for the chain of events, that’s why they didn’t know what to do, and besides this chairing M.Qorbachov didn’t let them even speak. “Their biggest success” was about calling for a group of deputies “to be against of fueling hatred”.
On June 8-9 of the same year in Khankandy the organization of the NKAO called “Karabakh’s movement” and the Armenian organization “Karabakh” held a general meeting, where it was decided to strengthen provocative activity against Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis.
Since July, the Armenians moved to an open terroristic activity. On July 7, they burnt down the Azerbaijani village of Kyarkidzhakhan near Khankandy. And on July 8 the movement “Miatsum” (association) held constitutive conference, which officially approved establishment of this organization and appointed Robert Kocharyan as its chair. Already at the end of July the Armenians’ attacks on the trains arriving from Azerbaijan and leaving for Nakhichevan had become more often. The trains leaving for Nakhichevan fully stopped their work.
On 16 August 1989, in Khankandy the Armenians held “the NKAO people’s congress of the plenipotentiaries”. The congress elected the National council administration of 79 men and the presidency of 12 men. The USSR peoples' deputy V.Qriqoryan was elected as the presidency chair. "The congress" announced Nagorny Karabakh as "an independent union territory".
On 20 August, the decision was canceled by presidium of the Supreme Council of the Azerbaijan SSR, but it didn't already matter for that time. On 20 August, the Armenians established "the national defense troops", which gathered all the Armenians aged from 17 up to 50. A.Volskiy's Special Management Committee was eliminated on 15 September by Azerbaijan's Supreme Council, it had fulfilled the mission ordered by M.Qorbachov and the Armenians surrounding it, that is, in fact, separating the NKAO from Azerbaijan.
Since then the Armenians started terroristic operations against Azerbaijan. The terroristic acts were arranged in the buses, trains, on board the ships, also making attacks on the cars, blowing up the bridges, - along with dreadful human losses they also caused large-scale material damage for the country.
On 1 December 1989, the Supreme Council of the Armenian SSR adopted a new decree on Nagorny Karabakh's annexation to Armenia. On 6 December, the presidency of the Supreme Council of the Azerbaijan SSR cancelled the decree by identifying the Armenians' actions as "the inadmissible interference in the internal affairs of the sovereign Azerbaijan SSR, violation of its territorial integrity, as the actions not contributing to the stabilization of the situation in the region and to the restoration of proper relations".
The same day the presidency of the Supreme Council of the Azerbaijan SSR adopted a Decree "On the establishment of the Republic’s Organizing Committee for the NKAO". Chaired by Second Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan V.P.Polyanichko the Committee included M.Asadov, S.Velimamedov, V.Dzhafarov, Sh.Karimov, Z.Orudzhov and M.Radayev.
At the end of December and beginning of January in Baku, Gandja and in some regional centers of the republic the situation in connection with the Karabakh events became even tenser. Taking advantage of the hard situation M.Qorbachov to stop the numerous national confrontations within the union ordered the soviet army to start the large-scale massacre in Baku from 19 till 20 January of 1990. Azerbaijan's voice wasn't heard as it was isolated from all the world as a result of the power plant explosion in the Baku TV station. The Central television and the radio broadcasted absolute nonsense on Azerbaijan and Baku. Under these circumstances, on 21 January 1990, Haydar Aliyev with his family came to the permanent mission of Azerbaijan in Moscow and declared about his critical protest against the unfair massacre arranged in Baku.
At the plenum of the Soviet Union’s Central Committee of the Communist Party, on February 5-7, “the Soviet Union’s Central Committee of the Communist Party’s draft platform for the XXVIII congress of the party” was discussed. Both First Secretary of Azerbaijan’s Central Committee of the Communist Party A.Mutalibov and First Secretary of Armenia’s Central Committee of the Communist Party S.Arutyunyan touched upon the Nagorny Karabakh issue. A.Mutalibov stated that the situation in Nagorny Karabakh from the very start of the reforms (perestroyka) caused the two nations tragedy, with which even the army couldn’t get on.
“The NKAO Armenians’ desire for self-determination due to the reforms (perestroyka), - stated S.Arutyunyan with the deviousness characteristic for Armenians, - has been treated as the aggressive occupation of the neighbor republic’s territory. However, the Nagorny Karabakh issue – isn’t a territorial issue. The issue has been raised not by Armenia, but by Nagorny Karabakh’s people. The core of the issue is that the future of the people depends on its independence”.
During that period the Soviet Union started actively to collapse. In such circumstances on 18 October 1991 Azerbaijan withdrawing from the USSR declared its independence according to the act of the Constitution “On the independence of the Azerbaijan Republic” adopted by Supreme Council of the Azerbaijan SSR.
On 26 November 1991 the Azerbaijan Parliament abolished the oblast structure of Nagorny Karabakh, “as a factor causing and worsening the national hatred between the Azerbaijani and Armenian peoples”. On 27 November, due to the fact that the status of Nagorny Karabakh was determined by Constitution of the USSR, the State Council of the USSR demands the Azerbaijani leadership to reconsider the issue of the NKAO’s abolishment.
On 8 December of the same year the Armenians of Nagorny Karabakh with holding a referendum regarding their independence took 99% of the Armenian majority. However, the Azerbaijani population expressed its protest against the referendum results.
On 8 December 1991, beneath the city of Brest, at the executive mansion Viskuly in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha, the Slavic republics presidents of Russia, Ukraine and Belorussia signed so called “the Belovezhskoye agreement”. Under the Agreement the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was established. On 21 December 1991, the former USSR leaders from the eleven republics, which declared their independence – Azerbaijan, Belorussia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Moldova, Uzbekistan, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and the Ukraine, gathering in the city Alma-Ata declared “about the Commonwealth of Independent Republics’ establishment and the Soviet Socialist Republics Union’s collapse” and signed the Alma-Ata Declaration.
For the period from 1988 till 1991 in Nagorny Karabakh the Armenians arranged 2 559 clashes, 315 armed attacks, 1 338 shootings, during which 514 men died, 1 318 were injured, 119 buildings and 1 134 houses of the Azerbaijanis were destroyed.
b) Armenia’s military aggression against Azerbaijan after the USSR’s collapse.
After the USSR’s collapse the Armenians from Armenia and Nagorny Karabakh extended even more than before their aggression against our people, it happened due to the Russian president B.Yeltsin and surrounding him Armenian authorities’ active support. Not limiting themselves to terroristic acts, the Armenians got to military operations against Azerbaijan. On 27 December 1991 the Armenian armed forces with the use of the heavy military equipment attacked the village Karkidzhakhan, which was being defended by 22 defense volunteers. The Russian officer Yyuriy Qurchenko wrote in his diary: “As our troops were leaving we left the military equipment for the Armenians. They had to keep on the war. Whereas making fake acts regarding the battles we sold the military equipment to the both of the sides. This was known both to the commanders of the 4th army and to the Transcaucasian military region”.
Always and everywhere encouraged by foreign Armenian diaspora, after buying a great amount of heavy military equipment, weapons and ordnance of the former Soviet Army, the Armenians along with the terroristic acts got to the open military operations against Azerbaijan. First thing they blocked up the road Shusha-Aqdam near Khankandy. Towards Lachin the Armenians took under control the road going through the Armenian village Dashalty, where they arranged criminal hide-out gradually taking under control all the surrounding areas. Defeat operation plan for the criminal hide-out in Dashalty, prepared by inexperienced minister of defence and scheduled for 23 January 1992, was spied for the Armenians by Russian agents working for Armenians. After easily entering the village the troop was surrounded and suffered heavy losses due to the “conditions” intentionally made by Armenians.
Already in January of 1992, the highway leading to Shusha was blocked up by Armenians. It was possible to contact with Shusha via helicopters and a hard road going through Murovdag. On 28 January, the Armenians shot down a helicopter on the route Aqdam-Shusha. 41 passengers died, there were mostly women and children and 3 crew members of the helicopter.
Since the beginning of the February the full-scale operations started to be carried out in Nagorny Karabakh with the support of the Russian Army’s 366th regiment, in which the Armenians were in majority. Early in February, the occupation of the Malybeyli village, the Shusha region, and the village Aqdaban, the Kalbadzhar region, and of many other villages by Armenian armed forces caused numerous casualties. During 4 days of that year, February 13-17, the village Qaradaqly of the Khodzhavand region had passed several times from hand to hand. Capturing 117 rural people the Armenian bandit troops killed 77 of them.
On 22 February 1992, at 03:00 a.m., the motorized regiment of the Armenian national army trespassing the state border of Azerbaijan launched a full-scale attack on the inhabited areas of the regions Kubatly, Lachin, Zangalan, Fizuly, Tartar, Khanlar, Tovuz.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Azerbaijan Republic sent a note to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Armenian Republic, in which it stated: “These regions are hundreds kilometers away from Nagorny Karabakh. There have been lots of killed and injured men among the defenders and civilians from these regions”.
The Armenians’ atrocity during the night attack from 25 till 26 February 1992 in the town of Khodzhaly, which had been besieged for a long time, became one of the most disgusting and wildest crimes of the end of the XX century, made by Armenians not only against the Azerbaijani people, but against all the humanity.
With the support of the Russian Army’s 366th motorized regiment, in which the Armenians generally were in majority, the town Khodjaly was razed to the ground during a night. Due to a number of heavy equipment the town was fully destroyed, burnt down, the people were killed with special cruelty.
Concerning the Khodzhaly tragedy the republican administration also was to blame on being indifferent during a long time to what was happening.
Thus, on 27 February, just after the Khodzhaly tragedy, in the message “On the situation in Khodzhaly” the information office under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan stated: “The terrifying rumors regarding Khodzhaly’s occupation by Armenian troops doesn’t reflect reality. The military commander of Shusha Raqim Qaziyev reported that Khodzhaly was resisting. The town was cleared of the Armenian bandit troops. The measures are held to strengthen a defense capability of the besieged town”.
But the next day, on 28 February, the newspaper “Khalq qazeti” (People’s newspaper) published a wide information on the events in the town of Khodzhaly. The officer of the Russian army Yuriy Qurchenko wrote in his diary that the occupation plan of Khodzhaly was prepared entirely on secret. First the town was surrounded. There were a number of armed riot policemen, that’s why the corridor in the direction of Aqdam was opened and the riot policemen were informed via loudspeaker regarding the permission to leave the town only on condition that their leaving would be quiet and unarmed. Along the corridor both the riot policemen and the civilians were going out. When they reached the end of the corridor, a real fight launched. Following the riot policemen they took on the civilians. The women, children and the elderly weren’t spared. They were taking eyeballs, cutting ears, peeling off the skin. Fleeing refugees were pursued as far as Gyulbala, where they faced death.
During the Khodzhaly events 613 men, among them 63 kids, 106 women, 70 old people were killed. As a result of the events 487 men, among them 76 children, became disabled. During the occupation, 1 275 men were captured, 150 went missing.
Since the Armenian army and the Armenian bandit troops fully cleared up the Azerbaijani villages of Nagorny Karabkh from the Azerbaijanis, they occupied Shusha - on 8 may 1992, Lachin - on the 18th, on 2 April 1993 – Kalbadzhar, 23 June – Aqdam, 23 August – Fizuly, on the 24th - Dzhabrail, the 31st - Kubatly, 30 October - Zangelan.
Thus, the Armenians by occupying 20% of Azerbaijan’s territories turned 1 million Azerbaijanis into refugees and internally displaced persons on their own land.
Analyzing the upper mentioned archival documents and records concerning the troubles and sufferings our people and generally the Turkic-Muslim peoples experienced from Armenians and drawing on a huge number of facts, that indicate the main sources and reasons of their “success”, we have reached the following conclusion:
Taking advantage of weakened power in the Ottoman Empire and Iran, Western countries, mainly England and Czarist Russia, with a goal to occupy the territories on the pretext of assisting them used the Christian Armenians living there.
As for centuries Armenians had been spread across different countries, they decided to create their own imaginable and mysterious Armenian state in the territories of the South Caucasus and Eastern parts of Anatoly.
They used to have friendly attitude of the Turkic-Muslim peoples, specially in the Ottoman Empire, and had for more than five hundred years good conditions for living.
Armenians were considered in the Ottoman Empire as “a trustworthy nation”, who could benefit from the situation, towards the end of the XIX century they managed to seize power in the main spheres of economics and trade in the Ottoman Empire.
Having no real links with the Christian religion, the Armenian Gregorian church didn’t aim at spreading religious backgrounds among Armenians across the world, but at promoting national interests and the idea of creating the Armenian state. So the main role in this case belonged to the Armenian churches spread out over the world.
Always benefiting from the circumstances, at the beginning of the XIX century, the Armenians took advantage of the Russian-Iranian and the Russian-Ottoman wars.
As a result of the wars with Iran and the Ottoman Empire, Russia seized the territories of the South Caucasus and relocated the Armenians from Iran and Turkey to the Turkic-Muslim lands. As it happened everywhere, as soon as Armenians appeared in a new place, after making a cosy nest, they used to behave quite, diligent and trustworthy to win hearts of the local population. But after settling they used to show their wolf teeth.
Established in 80-90 years of the XIX century, the terroristic and nationalist parties “Armenikan”, “Qnchaq”, “Dashnaktsutyun” embraced Armenians and launched the activity plan on establishment of “Greater Armenia” in the territories of the South Caucasus and the Ottoman Empire. In this case they counted on the help of England and Czarist Russia.
And every time by promising Armenians to help them realize the dream of establishment of their “state”, England and Russia, after achieving their goals, used to leave Armenians on their own. It was noted several times not only by foreign authors but even by Armenian authors themselves in their research.
They managed to create their own state, about which they had been dreaming for centuries, only after the end of the World War I and collapse of the Imperial Russia.
During seventy years of the Soviet power’s existence, Armenians with the help of their friends in the government of Moscow with occupying the territories of Azerbaijan consistently realized their plans:
1) By all possible means to evict all Azerbaijanis to the last man from the territories of the Soviet Armenia created by them;
2) To expand the territory of the Armenian state created by them at the expense of Azerbaijan’s lands. The help of the Soviet Union’s leadership, involving the Armenians themselves, and the indifferent attitude to the issue of the Azerbaijani leaders, as they were often under the influence of appointed to the decision-making posts Armenian authorities, - in this issue created special opportunities for Armenians. A living testament to this can be the fact that they occupied Zangazur and the other Azerbaijani territories in the twentieths of the past century after establishment of the Armenian Soviet state and also the fact that without getting Nagorny Karabakh they managed to grant it the status of the Autonomous oblast. According to a number of facts it’s evident that in whole for all 70 years of the Soviet power’s existence the Soviet Armenia didn’t stop even for a day its plans on the Azerbaijani lands occupation and the Azerbaijanis’ expulsion from Armenia, who lived there.
After the World War II the Armenians intensified their activity in this regard with receiving J.Stalin’s blessing concerning resettlement to the Soviet Armenia of the Armenians from abroad. After the end of the war they asked J.Stalin to attach the Nagorny Karabakh autonomous region to the Armenian SSR. They didn’t succeed in this case but on the pretext of the Armenians’ resettlement from abroad in 1948-1953, 100 thousand Azerbaijanis were deported from the Armenian SSR to the Mil-Muqan steppe of Azerbaijan.
The Armenians skillfully continued this policy even during the reforms (perestroyka) declared by opportunist M.Qorbachov, who took power in the USSR’s leadership in 1985. They skillfully used the situation and as the session of the NKAO’s Council of the People’ Deputies adopted a decree on the attachment of this region to the Armenian SSR in February of 1988, they got to the last attack to realize their plans.
With the mass expulsion of the Azerbaijanis to the last man, who had lived in the Armenian SSR and considered it their native land, they changed Armenia into the mono republic consisting of only Armenians.
Using the situation, with the support first of the USSR, and then of the Russian Federation, its army and also of the Armenian diaspora from abroad the Armenians created their own army. Being provided with lots of free weapons and the manpower they conducted in Nagorny Karabakh against Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijanis first the terroristic operations, then the large-scale military actions, expelling to the last man the Azerbaijanis living in the territory of the autonomous republic.
That wasn’t enough for the Armenian army and they took 7 more regions around Nagorny Karabakh with the Azerbaijani population. Consequently, by occupying 20 % of our territories and turning about 1 million of Azerbaijanis into refugees and internally displaced persons they brought to the Khodzhaly tragedy.
It’s been 20 years that Armenians having occupied our lands make our people live as refugees and internally displaced persons. Armenians pillage the natural resources on the occupied lands and damage the environment. It’s evident for the entire world, all the international organizations, but yet the occupying forces have gone unpunished. As to them, it is the responsibility of the aggressor and his victim to solve the issue peacefully. It’s absolutely clear that the aggressor won’t ever return the occupied lands in the easy way. The fate of these lands can be decided either by international organizations pressure or by force of arms. There is no other way. The international organizations are against the war, but yet they support the aggressor.
Translated by Gyunel Aghayarova Tahir
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