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”.
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