Member of Parliament (Azerbaijan)
As a result of the occupation of the Tsarist regime in the South Caucasus in 20-30 years of XIX century, after a short period of time Armenians, who moved to Southern Caucasus , began to threaten and perpetrate massacre against neighbouring people including Azerbaijanis in crisis periods.
As a result of the eviction, Armenia Republic was established which never exist before in the Caucasus. Terrorism and massacre against Azerbaijanis raised the state policy level in Armenia in 1918-1920.
In 1920, after the occupation and sovietization of Azerbaijan and Armenia by Russia they were lasted to resettle Armenians in Azerbaijanis’ land in Southern Caucasus, oppressing of people , baseless territorial claims, policy of giving Azerbaijani land to Armenia. But what historical sources say about it?
Are there any differences between Soviet and Tsarist period policy?
(the experience of 20-30 years)
In 1920s years the threat occurred against the independence of Azerbaijan in unfavorable international condition.
As a result of Russian occupation Azerbaijan Democratic Republic ceased to exist. On April 28, 1920, Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic was established. At the reference composed in August 5, of the same year, undisputed territories of Azerbaijan and Armenia stated so: border starts from Gazakh and the former administrative boundaries of Borchali district until Gazakh, Alexandropol (Gyumri) and New Bayazid Maralicha mountains, then directly down to Goycha lake, approximately 11/2 verst divide into two parts Goyche lake after north Chubuglu village, goes its southern coast towards west, starts from between Godek Bulag and Zagali village in the southern coast of Goyche lake, then passes over the mountainous villages of Goyche lake Yarnizli, Gizil Veng and Yukhari Alchali –Gizil Harava (about 10859) and Agmahan heights.
Lasts from the borders of Yerevan and New Bayazid districts to Kichik Agdag and separated mountainous districts where Azerbaijanis live from Armenian settled villages. Then border lasts from north-west of Kichik Agdag , towards of Togmahan lake going to Tezekend village and ends through Gerni river Yukhari Agbash village, then continues south-west Ulukhanli, passes through the Ulukhanli railway station and lies Araz river and reaches Ranjbar village in the north. From Ranjbar village to the Araz river borders continues directly to the west, join to the former administrative borders of the Surmeli district with Echmiadzin and Kars provinces and going to Tendurek mountains, former Russian-Turkish borders.
Armenia was sovietized in the autumn of 1920. After that period, the central Bolshevik government began to maintain policy following in Tsarist regime , and began to divide into parts the historical lands of Azerbaijan and to give Armenia. National Commissar of Justice of Azerbaijan SSR Behboud Shahtahtinskiy wrote to Russian Communist(Bolshevik) Party Central Committee (RCP (b) Central Committee), although 123,0 95 Azerbaijanis and 99, 257 Armenians live in Zangezur, the western part of Zangezur district was given to Armenia on 30 November, 1920.
As a result of ceding those territories, Azerbaijan lost its ties with the Nakchivan and Turkey also with the Turkish World.
The policy following to Azerbaijanis who lived in Soviet Armenia didn’t distinguish from the policy following in the period of Dashnaksutyun rule.
Although a number of Azerbaijanis were more than Armenians who lived in Azerbaijan , Azerbaijanis lived their historical lands in Armenia were not given the autonomy.
They gave autonomy to Armenians who lived in Azerbaijan territory. Member of Caucasian Bureau of the Central Committee Plenum of the RCP (b) I. Stalin and Members of Caucasus Bureau G (Sergo), K. Orchonikidze, F. I.Makharadze, S.M.Kirov, A.M.Nazaretyan, I.D. Orkhelshvili, Y.P. Figatner, N.Narimanov, A.F. Myasnikov and with the participation of Commissar of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan SSR M.Huseynov the Nagorno Karabakh problem discussed at the meeting held on 5 June, 1921. Taking into consideration necessity of national peace between Armenians and Azerbaijanis, economic relations of upper and lower Karabakh with Azerbaijan and the constant relations with Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh had been left under the control of Azerbaijan. It was given large autonomy lefting the administrative center Shusha.
Some time ago of this accident the status and territory of Nakchivan were defined by the third article of the Russian-Turkish treaty signed on 16 March, 1921.
On 13 October of the same year, the treaty was signed among Azerbaijan SSR, Armenia SSR and Georgia SSR and Turkey with the mediation of Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in Kars. The governments of Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan have expressed their satisfaction with the fifth article of the treaty : “Nakchivan province […] is an autonomous territory under the protection of Azerbaijan.” The borders of Nakhchivan were defined by the third addition of the treaty.
The period from 12 March 1922 to 5 December 1936, Azerbaijan was incorporated to the Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic . Until incorporation to the USSR TSFSR Basarkecher district of the New Bayazid region on the border of the Russian Empire and the two-third parts of Sherur Dereleyez were given to Armenia. After the incorporation of the Transcaucasian Federation, a considerable portion of the Kazakh district, a number of villages of Jabrayil and Nakchivan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was annexed to Armenia. Thus, in 1918-1920, 113895, 97 km2 territory of Azerbaijan diminished to 86.6 thousand km2 during the Soviet period.
Armenia appropriated Azerbaijan historical lands as well as continued deportation of Azerbaijanis. The Armenian government objected resolutely to return permanent settlement of Azerbaijanis who were expelled from the historical lands. Thus, Union Council of under the TSFSR member of Refugees Permanent Commission Isaakyan wrote to the TSFSR Regional Party Comittee of Presidium of the Caucasus that there was not an inch land to settle refugees in Armenia.
He noted that, the return of Azerbaijani refugees to Zengezur district would create crisis situation, so it was possible to solve the problem empty land fund of Azerbaijan. The issue about local authorities preventing to Azerbaijani refugees expelled from the Zangezur region of the Azerbaijan SSR Gubadly returned back to their homes in the deployment of Zangezur to prevent local authorities on the issue of refugees, even spoiled the Commission to the Council of the Union on June 12, 1922 (protocol № 17), and on July 9 meeting (Protocol№ 18) were discussed. It is said in the decision:
“There is no empty land in Armenia SSR so the settlement of people who are from Armenia SSR and 28 000 Muslim refugees(Azerbaijanis) from Nakchivan region to recommend accommodate them to the government of Azerbaijan SSR. “ Thus, Azerbaijanis expelled from Zengezur couldn’t return their historical lands. The government of Azerbaijan compelled to settle them in the territory of the Republic.
The government of Azerbaijan made concessions and the Armenian were enticed and required new territories from Azerbaijan. Thus, on 25 October , 1922 information presented by the secretary of the People’s and Land Commissariat of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan SSR about the territory of Azerbaijan SSR make clear us the whole territory of Azerbaijan was 7,989,105 dessiatin and 379,984 dessiatin of and from Gazakh district and 405.000 dessiatin of land from the former Zengezur district had been given to Armenia.
The Soviet government continued settlement of Armenians in Azerbaijani lands and giving Azerbaijani lands to Armenia after establishing USSR in December,1922. The main stage coming of Armenians to the South Caucasus was the period after the Lausanne conference . It was known that Turkish government took obligation at the conference about the protection of national minorities in the country. Although, Georgy Chicherin, the Foreign Affairs Commissar of RSFSR who took part in the conference noted in the letter he sent in January, 1923 to the International Armenian Society, Armenians were ready to accept Soviet authority.
The delegations of Russia, Ukraine and Georgia sent verbal note on the matter to the chairman of the Lausanne Conference.
In the letter sent by G. Chicherin to deputy Mikhail Litvinov from Lausanne 27 January, wrote that statement about giving land to Armenians presented to the International Armenian Society.
According to him, organisations must participate providing financial aid and transport facilities to the emigration of Armenians.
Because the Soviet government lacked the funds to eviction Armenians. In the letter written by G.Chicherin to the other deputy Lev Karakhan recommended to discuss this issue with the Armenian Commissariat and Moscow where a prominent figure of Armenian national movement Dro lived.
At the meeting held by Commission on emigration of Armenia and under the board member of chairmanship of People Land Comissariat Mesyhachev On 23 March,1923, they decided to evict Armenians not more than 200,000 to the territory of Russia. The 15,000 of them had to be settled in the Southern Caucasus. This issue was discussed at the RCP(b) Central Committee Political Bureau. At the meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee (protocol № 47) based on the proposal of Chicherin on the 22 November, 1923 issue about “ Armenian refugees from Turkey” was discussed. According to the secret decision there was no objection about 10, 000 Armenians eviction from Turkey to USSR boundaries.
As a result, some Armenians from Turkey were settled in the South Caucasus.
Azerbaijani-populated 9 villages of Nakhchivan was given to Armenia in 1923.
Later, on May 19, 1925, according to the meeting decision of the Transcaucasian Central Executive Committee (CEC) small Presidium (protocol № 12) in a large number of Armenians were settled in Nakchivan.
On July 7, 1923, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast was established in the mountainous part of Karabakh. The administrative center of the oblast was defined Khankendi city. In the September of the same year the name of the city was renamed Stepanakert in honor of one of the organizers of genocide against Azerbaijanis, Bolshevik figure Stepyan Shaumyan. The administrative territory of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast was established for to increase a number of Armenian communities in that region. Azerbaijani government gave extensive rights Armenians who lived in Nagorno-Karabakh.
This is Lenin and Stalin’s indicative attitude to the people of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Although Armenians were fewer than Azerbaijanis lived in Armenia the establishment of autonomous republic for Armenians in Azerbaijan was the concrete indicator of “ divide and rule” policy. Not only the autonomy was given Azerbaijanis who lived in Armenia but also Armenian government began to oppress more of them.
After sovietization there were a number of territorial disputes among the Southern Caucasus republics. From this point of view the inquiry “ Which territorial claim existed among the Transcaucasian republics?” prepared by an adviser of the Central Executive Committee of the Transcaucasia M. Skiditski was worth notice on 21 September, 1927. He wrote: “There were 61 disputing lands covering 17816 dessiatins between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The Transcaucasian Central Executive Comission accepted the final decision 46 lands covering 6750 dessiatins. According to the final decision 3050 dessiatins lands was given to Azerbaijan SSR and 3700 dessiatins lands was ceded to Armenia.
The bringing and resettlement of Armenians in the South Caucasus, the land belonging to Azerbaijanis continued in 1930 s years. At the meeting ( protocol № 37) held on 10 May, 1931 All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik) Central Committee of Political bureau the issue about eviction of Armenians to TSFSR was discussed as 25 th article of agenda. But it was postponed. However after a period of time this issue was discussed again in the meeting (protocol № 43)of Political bureau on 16 June. They accepted a decision secretly.
USSR People’s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs (RC) addressed to the TSFSR Central Executive Comissioin with the № 263 secret letter on 14 March,1932 and recommended the adoption of citizenship of Armenians from Turkey.
It should be noted that they petitioned for applying for citizenship back in 1928-1929 years. The secretary of TSFSR Central Executive Committee Hemid Sultanov sent № 479 secret letter to the administrative department of Azerbaijan SSR CEC and wrote “ We asked for your command about the adoption of Turkey’s Armenians for the citizenship of the USSR. The decision was fulfilled.
In May 1936, 2 000 Armenians were brought from Paris to Armenia. The representatives of them sent telegram to Lavrentiy Beriya and Gazanfar Musebeyov on 22 May and thanked them for the offer all necessary facilities coming from a strange country to the new home country (it was written so in the document).
Thus, since the first years of Soviet rule Armenians were brought from foreign countries and were settled en masse. For providing them land to live Azerbaijanis were oppressed from their historical lands.
The increasing number of Armenians in Armenia during the Soviet period by means of eviction was admitted at the inquiry “counter-revolutionary role of Dashnaksutyun Party”.
Here, it was written definitely: “If there were 774 thousand people in Armenia in 1920 ,their number increased to 1 million 200 thousand people or increased 55 % in 1936. Soviet rule offered all necessary facilities settlement of Armenians and despite Azerbaijanis formed the main part in Armenia not only they were given the right of autonomy but also was pursued discrimination policy.