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Staggering Facts about Massacres of 1918-1920

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Excerpts and quotations from the documents and other sources of the time about the Azeri massacres of 1918-1920.

There are lots of staggering facts about the bloody disasters that Azeris had to face during 1918-1920. In his article «Red Army of Armenia» published on November 29 1921 in the newspaper «Khorurdain Hayastan» Myasnikyan wrote: «Dashnaks instilled into their troops- rob the people, bring up hatred to the Turks, exterminate Azeris, try to revive with every brutality the spirit of khmbabets» (the Armenian notion of chivalry). 

In his work «Counterrevolutionary «Dashnaksutiun» and the imperialistic war 1914-1918» Armenian historian A. Lalayan writes: «The characteristic feature of the volunteer movement is, that the dashnak detachments headed by the bloodthirsty khmbabets (Andranik, Amazasp, Dro, Nzhde and others) tried to show maximum «courage» when killing Turk [Turkish and Azeri] women, children, old and sick people. Turk settlements seized by the dashnak detachments were «freed» from alive people and were left in ruins full of disfigured victims.

One of the dashnak «heros» from Yeni Bayazid-Vahram described in 1920 his «feat» as following: «I destroyed the Turk [Azeri] population in Basarkecher (Basarkecher – one of the regions of todays Armenia) not looking into anything – boasted the dashnak rascal – but sometimes you pity the bullet. The best way against these dogs is to gather together all of those who survived; overcrowd the wells with them and finish them off with heavy stones thrown from up, so that they won’t exist any more. I – the bandit continued – have done exactly the same: took all the men, women and children and finished with them having filled with stones the wells where they were thrown by me…»

Thus, one of the results of the dashnak volunteer movement is extermination of tens of thousands of working Turks»[8]

The notes of the Moslems of the Erivan province prepared for the Americans says: «88 villages destroyed, 1920 houses burned, 131,970 men killed».[9]

These lines might be a surprise for the reader who doesn’t know the situation in the South Caucasus. Systematically everyday we hear wails in the press, especially in the foreign press claiming that, ostensibly, «Moslems» mock at poor «Christian Armenian people», and suddenly, it becomes clear that not «Moslems» but Armenians commit violence.[10]

«…The same day two telegraph messages came from Ganje that having trespassed the border near Gekcha (Sevan), Armenian soldiers attacked the Moslems [Azeris]. Dignity, life and property of 60 thousand Moslems is endangered.

If we could ask Jemalyan, who is in Tiflis right now and the Armenian newspapers, what’s going on they will pretend to be deaf and begin to cry that Armenian nation is being exterminated. It becomes clear that Armenians, who are not satisfied with Armenia, are dreaming of expanding their borders. In short, Armenians have spoiled their Azeris fellows. They say, whatever we do, you just keep silence. But if you just move a bit we will make such problems to you…I don’t want to upset you further, but lately Armenians don’t know what they want even by themselves».[11]

«Conscience is a good thing indeed. If someone doesn’t have conscience you can expect everything from him… One of these shameless persons, Andronik began to destroy Moslems in Karabakh again. And Armenian state only closes its eyes to it and just gesticulates. How Armenian state conducts its policy and what it contemplates, this doesn’t need to be commented.

This state declares that there can be no Georgia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus. Here can be only Armenia. Either the whole Caucasus will be Armenia, or something which would be under its rule».[12]

Part of the report by the proxy of the Moslem population of the mountainous 5th sector Ismayil Sultanov addressed to Ganja district police chief (nachalnik): «Already beginning from April 13 of the current year attack of the soldiers of the Ararat Republic (Armenia) to the peaceful Azeri settlements of Gekche region and Yeni Bayazid district took place aimed at cleansing the territory from Azeri population who live in the eastern and northern parts of the Gekcha Lake. At present 22 settlements with population 60,000 have been destroyed, burned and cleansed. Poor Moslem population is dying under the fire from the Armenian soldiers who have goal to exterminate the Gekche Moslems and who are carrying out this goal brutally. It is terrible to see the deeds of the Armenians and Armenian government against their past neighbors and present Moslem citizens. No single person, women, old men, youth and men who has been taken into hostage survives, and goes through unbelievable tortures, except some women and adolescent girls. Those who survived try to escape but are followed by the Armenian troops. Part of the refugees gushed to the 5th sector of the Ganje district, inhabitants of 17 settlements run to the mountainous part of the Jevanshir district, the rest- inhabitants of 7-8 settlements huddled together in the gorges or snowy mountainous peaks of the 5th sector of the Ganje district and followed by the Armenian troops get bogged down in snows and die en mass. The goal of the Ararat Republic (Armenia) is already achieved. There exist no Azeris in the Gekcha region now and at present 84 Azeri settlements of Yeni Bayazid district have been destroyed, 22 of them were destroyed between April 13-20.  They were: Dashkent, Goshabulak, Sariyakub, Bash-Shorja, Ayak-Shorja, Sogankuluagaly, Ak kilsa, Zod, Kulu-Agaly, Buyuk Karakoyunlu, Kichik Karakoyunlu, Zarzubil, Chan-Ahmedli, Inekdagh, Kara-Iman, Kesemen, Bashkent, Kichik Mazra, Shish-kaya, Bash Haji, Garib Kaya with overall 15 thousand houses».[13]

Pay attention to the documents given in the newspaper «Georgia», which inform about the Armenian brutalities committed in 1918 in the ancient Azeri land of Zangezur, «granted» to Armenia only on November 30 1920.
The chief (nachalnik) of the district in his report dated October 30 1918 gives the list of the following settlements included in the 1st sector from December 1917 to August 1918:

  1. In December 1917 was destroyed the village of Kurdlar: damage – 150 thousand roubles
  2. Aramis (Arafsa) also destroyed in December: 6 people killed, damage – 180 thousand roubles
  3. The village of Bahrili destroyed during the same period: 9 people killed, damage – 100 thousand roubles
  4. The village of Dulus destroyed during the same period: damage – 90 thousand roubles
  5. In January 1918 was destroyed the village of Karakilsa: 165 people killed, damage – 300 thousand roubles
  6. The village of Pulkent destroyed during the same period: 19 people killed, damage – 160 thousand roubles
  7. In April was destroyed the village of Arikly: 25 people killed, damage – 128 thousand roubles
  8. In April the village of Dastakert: damage – 100 thousand roubles
  9. The village of Shikhlar destroyed in June of the same year: 95 people killed, damage – 500 thousand roubles
  10. The village of Zabazadur destroyed during the same period: damage – 90 thousand roubles
  11. The village of Sheki destroyed in August: 95 people killed, damage – 16 million roubles
  12. The village of Yakublu destroyed in August of the same year: 28 people died, damage – 6 million roubles
  13. The village of Kiziljik destroyed in August: 27 people killed, damage – 5 million roubles
  14. The village of Vagudi destroyed in August: 96 people killed, damage – 13 million roubles
  15. The village of Sisyan destroyed in September of the same year: 60 people killed, damage – 800 thousand roubles

As we can see from these documents, in 9 months in 15 settlements there were killed 625 people only in Sisyan region, which is due to the present administrative, division is part of Armenia. The damage caused reached 51,390,000 roubles.[14]

The telegram received by the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan on January 10 1919 from the chief of police of the Zangezur district Malik Namazaliyev informed, «I met the British commission headed by the major Gibbon in the village of Abdallar. Here, based on the order of the general Thompson the commander of the Ally troops, and with the participation of both Armenian and Azeri delegates it was decided to cease all kinds of hostilities among Armenians and Azeris, and establish normal life. The population was informed about the decision. After that Armenians returned imperceptibly to Goris and Shusha. Representatives [of the Ally forces] also can confirm that. And Armenians with the Andranik’s detachment in the head having breached their promise destroyed 30 Moslem villages, burned and appropriated their property. All those who couldn’t run away were brutally killed without consideration of gender and age. This event has been reported. In three days after I met Gibbon and saw him off pristav [a police chief of a small area] informed me that Armenians killed part of the population of the Razdara village in the 4th sector and leveled the village itself with earth. This brutal extermination of Moslems before the eyes of the representatives of great powers was left unpunished. Armenians overthrow all guilt for this to the Andronik’s detachment and the Armenian refugees from Turkey».[15]

All the said is aimed to reveal the major trends of the strategic plans of the Armenian nationalists. And the major trend is to expand the anti-Turk[ish] and anti-Azeri movement and wage a vengeful war and create an illusory Greater Armenia.

Thousands of pogroms organized by the dashnak Armenia during 1918-1920 testify this best of all. This goal is promulgated in the article «The Ararat Republic» published in the «Azerbaijan» newspaper in 1919. The newspaper writes: «Seven days ago a peasant named Kuli came to us to Kara-Iman and informed that the Armenian detachment headed by the officers Filimonov and Nishanev encircled the villages Kizil-Veng, Subasan and Zagaly. Having decoyed all the men to the trap under the pretext that, ostensibly, pristav wanted to see them, the Armenian bands began to rob the villages. Peasants begged to free them and they got the reply: if we destroy two or three Moslem villages we still will not be satisfied with revenge. Even if we destroy 30 such villages it will be nothing in comparison to the Armenian blood and victims in just one ordinary street of Baku during the September events [here are meant the events of September 1918, when Azeri National Army together with Turkish troops liberated Baku from the dashnak-bolshevik troops and moved its capital from Ganje to Baku soon afterwards].

There were killed 4 men and 6 women in the village of Chamurlu 4 days before destruction of these villages. Men had their heads, women- breasts cut off. We [population of the villages to be destroyed soon] ourselves buried them.

A peasant woman from Sharaba [village] who experienced mockery at herself, informed that all men of Sharaba village were slaughtered, children were burned in tendirs [clay stoves for bakery], afterwards from the whole village there were chosen 8 women who were held, disgraced and dishonored for twenty days and then were released.»[16]

The report of the Ganje governor, which describes hard situation of the Moslem population, says that the brutalities have no limits, all horrors of gloomy Middle Ages pale before them. «We don’t want to believe that there is a people in the XX c, which has blared all over the Europe about its civilized mannerism and which uses all the methods of the savages against peaceful population. It’s hard to write these lines under impression of those horrors, which are echoed in the daily reports and dispatches coming from all the corners of the province. Everywhere women are raped, children are burned in the flames, tongues, ears are cut, mockery all around. … Finishing the report about the Armenian brutalities I copulate that in only Zangezur district 105 settlements were destroyed and robbed. I enclose the list of them».[17]

The article «War with Moslems, Armenians attack again» «Scotland-Liddell» (Tiflis, January 30 1919) wrote: «Armenia always looks for clashes and when she gets it she calls in her propaganda «oppression, what in fact, is a deserved punishment». A killed Armenian is always valuable for a dashnak. If to benefit properly from this chance, then, it can bring lots of gains to the propaganda work. To tell by the words of Nuri Pasha, whom I recently had a conversation with: «Whenever an Armenian killed, he stands up and cries – I have been killed during massacres».

The same article continues: «Currently Armenians have no doubts of their temporary success in Zangezur. Most part of their regular troops has served in the Russian Army before; as to the Azeri Army, it is composed, almost exclusively, of young recruits. But this success can’t be continuous: Armenians not only wrong, they are in minority. But there will come a day when all Azeris rise as one against their oppressors and when this day comes, nothing will save the Armenian people».[18]

«Armenians were persecuted during the Menshevik government in Georgia, and Armenians themselves exterminated the Moslem population during the dashnak government.»[19]

«Extermination of Azeris by Armenians began long ago, was raised to a state policy level and went beyond the borders of Azerbaijan. It is not surprising that only during the dashnak rule – a period of 30 months of being in power (May 1918 – November 1920) 60 % of the Azeri population was killed.»[20]

G. Muradyan writes describing the deeds of the bands of the Armenian state, which destroyed the Azeri villages on the northern bank of the Gekcha Lake: «…As a result of measures taken by our state…population of these villages (Tokluja, Akbulak, Ardanish and others) have left the borders of Armenia. I saw the villages left without owners. There was no one but several cats and dogs surprised with total silence. The population of these villages left big areas of potato, wheat and barley. State will be able to get 2 million poods of wheat and half a million poods of potato from there».21
«The rest of the Armenian «heroes» made the women, mothers and sisters to undress completely and having taken them to a mill-pond prepared in advance, forced them to go in single file in public. These dregs were beating the women and made them to stay there for hours. Then ordered to arrest them. At night they called young women and girls out to themselves, insulted them and then gave them to the guards».[22]

In August 1918 pogroms began in the Moslem villages of Igdir and Echmiadzin districts. Based on order of khmbabet [Armenian bandit] Dro, more than 60 villages were destroyed, male population of these villages was killed almost totally, beautiful women were taken away.[23]

As a result of events in Zangezur, which was characterized with forceful deportation and cleansing of this region from Azeris, in the beginning of January 1919 the Azeri population of the mountainous part of Zangezur numbering 40 thousand people run to the Jebrayil, Shusha and Jevanshir districts of Karabakh and other parts of the republic.

«…At the end of summer 1919 the situation of Azeris in south-western Azerbaijan (Zangezur) and in Armenia extremely aggravated. Due to these events most part of Azeris in Armenia became refugees, deprived of shelter and doomed to all those sufferings that are usually lot of the refugees. After returning to their villages, they, along with other Azeri population, were exposed to continuous pogroms again since the Turkish Armenians had already occupied their houses and lands. The number of such hapless and ruined Azeris in Armenia reaches 200 thousand people in only Yeni Bayazid, Echmiadzin and Erivan districts.»

The delegates of the Moslems of the Erivan province informed the Prime-Minister of Azerbaijan: «We have exact information that Andranik with his detachment moves to the Erivan province under the pretext of accompanying the Armenian refugees [from Turkey] but, in fact, aimed at helping the Armenian troops fighting with the Moslem population in this province. This is a big threat for the Moslems of the Erivan province; all the [Armenian] refugees are Turkish citizens, whom the Armenian government wants to locate in the Azeri settlements. The proof for this statement can be the fact, that presently Armenian refugees are moved to the Moslem-populated areas forcefully against their will and on these grounds a real war is unleashed between Azeris and Armenians.»[24]

There are a number of documents exposing the disasters Azeris had to face, the incomprehensible tortures they had to suffer before dying, especially women and children.

«Totally destroyed all the Moslem villages of the 1st police sector of the Sisyan district (okrug), majority of the villages of the 2nd sector, most part of the villages of the 3rd, 4th and 5th sector. Armenians leveled with earth many villages and 50,000 Azeri refugees found refuge in the Jebrayil district.»

Based on the testimonies and official documents, 115 Azeri villages were destroyed in the Zangezur district. (Archive documents provide list of 115 villages- authors).

In those villages were killed 3257 men, 2276 women, 2196 children; 1060 men, 794 women, 425 children were wounded. Overall, 10,068 people from Azeri population were killed or maimed in this district. But it is hard to believe that this list of Armenian brutalities is exact, therefore these figures should be considerably increased. Hasty flight of the Azeri population during these terrible clashes in the district doesn’t allow calculating all the victims. However, based on the testimonies of those who escaped we can ascertain what kinds brutalities Armenians did commit in the district.
Destruction of more than one hundred villages of the Zangezur district, robbery of hundreds of thousands of livestock, annihilation of gardens and fields brought the economy of this Azeri district to a beggarly level, more than 50,000 refugees found refuge in other parts of Azerbaijan. Based on a simple calculation, the damage caused to Azeris comprised 1 billion roubles.[25]

In order to prevent dissemination of false information about the events in Zangezur the government of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic found it necessary to inform the following: «During almost a whole year various armed bands comprised of Armenians operated in the parts of the Zangezur district. These bands terrorized the population, didn’t recognize the Azerbaijan government, assaulted the Moslem settlements destroying them, and ruined the peaceful population, which had to leave its native land and wander in the neighboring districts looking for refuge. More than 60,000 Moslem refugees are still left in the open air, experiencing all the horrors of hunger and cold».[26]

«Isn’t it a genocide? UN formulation in 1947 declares: «Genocide is not only an extermination of a people, or part of it, but it is also creation of those unbearable conditions as a result of which local population has to leave native land». (Azeris of Armenia witnessed that)».

«Scotland-Liddell in the article «Armeno-Tatar [Tatar-name erroneously attributed to Azeris by the foreigners (mostly Russians) during XIX and XX cc] agreement. Arrival of peace in Karabakh» informs: «When I was in Shusha in January, I told one British officer that I was planning to go to Zangezur to make certain in what conditions are the refugee-Moslems who were numbering 40,000, all suffered on the hands of Armenians.»27

There is a list of 199 Azeri villages (100,626 people) representing 15,155 farms, which have been destroyed and emptied before March 1918 in the Erivan province. These figures are taken from the «Caucasus Calendar» periodical (1908). If take into account the population growth in 1908-1918, the population of these ruined villages totalled 135,000 people. Within last two months of 1919, 96 people were killed in Echmiadzin and Surmali districts, and all [Azeri] villages in the Erivan district (except Zangibasar) were ruined.[28]

We think it would be expedient and interesting to present a part of the report of the government of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, since this report is very harmonious with the «historical recurrence» of those events during the current Armenian-Azeri conflict: «…Newly created Azerbaijanian government, which had to establish comparative order in the central places, even in its residence, naturally, couldn’t react properly to the emergence of such movements as in remote Shusha, Karyagin, Jevanshir and Zangezur districts, not having not only physical force, but also because of cessation of private communication in most parts of Azerbaijan. The consequence was the rejection of the most part of the Armenian population of the mountainous parts of these districts to recognize the Azerbaijanian government, and their hostile attitude against the Moslem population, as supporters of this government. The situation aggravated further with the arrival of the Armenian military units, headed by Andranik, who openly declared the goal of his «campaign»: secession of these territories from Azerbaijan and incorporation of them into Armenia. Also appeared chetniks (supporters) from local population who made up their mind with the same goal, but who were not squeamish about robbery, violence and killings all around. Approximately 150 Moslem settlements are ruined and robbed in that region and masses of refugees fled to the lowland in Aghdam and other places».[29]

Source: «Historical geography of the Western Azerbaijan» Baku 1998 (In Russian)

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