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Karabakh: looking into the past in search of the truth

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This article, which spans a vast historical period from the early 19th century when the Russians conquered the Transcaucasus to the advent of Soviet power in the region, deals with the ethnic, demographic, and national processes unfolding across Karabakh, including its mountainous part. The author relies on recently discovered historical sources to analyze the historical panorama and point out that the Bolsheviks, who came to power in 1920, made Karabakh, an independent khanate of Azerbaijan, a target of the Armenians’ territorial claims. Prof. Hasanli turns to the new information from Russian archives to reveal the truth. Total falsification of everything related to the Karabakh problem, which has recently become even more urgent, has made the issues raised in the article doubly important both in the academic and practical respects.


At all stages in Azerbaijan’s history, Karabakh has been viewed as a geographic region in its own right; today, the Armenian occupation has turned it into a target of conflict. There is a more or less widely accepted opinion that in the Early Middle Ages Karabakh was regarded as the homeland of the Azeris. Its toponym speaks of the same: according to several sources, the word “Garabag,” which is made up of two stems, “Gara” (large) and “bag” (garden), means “Large Garden.”

In the 1540s, Ziyadoglu, head of the tribe of Kajars, who regarded themselves as the hereditary rulers of the area, was appointed beglerbeg of Karabakh. In the first quarter of the 18th century, when the Safavid dynasty collapsed, which triggered a series of feuds, the Karabakh domains separated into two independent khanates. The Ziyadoglu dynasty kept the northern part, which became the Ganja Khanate, while the southern part, at the interfluve of the Kura, Arax, and Terter rivers, became an independent Karabakh Khanate. In the northwest, along the Kurekchay River, it bordered on the Ganja Khanate; it was divided from the Sheki Khanate by the Gekchay River; in the east, the Kura River served as the border with the Shemakha Khanate; in the south, the border with the Karadag Khanate ran across the Mugan steppe; in the southwest, it bordered on the Nakhchivan Khanate, and in the west, on the Irevan Khanate. In the 18th century, the population of the Karabakh Khanate was 130 thousand strong; the khanate was founded by Panakh Khan, who in 1754 built a fortress Panakhabad (later Shusha) on a high and steep mountain.

Russia, which came to Karabakh in the early 19th century, created a new political situation; it was seeking social and ethnic support among the Armenians, which pushed the Christian element to the fore in Karabakh. In fact, the disagreements of the present day are rooted in the early 19th century.

The Treaty of Kurekchay

In 1801, having conquered Georgia, Russia approached the borders of Azerbaijan. In March 1803, Commander of the Russian Caucasian Army Prince Tsitsianov began a siege of Ganja, the largest of the Azeri cities; on 3 January, 1804, Russian troops, which had broken the fierce resistance of the city inhabitants headed by Javad Khan, entered the city. To gain a foothold in the Transcaucasus, the Russians needed the Karabakh, Sheki, and Shirvan khanates, the strongest in this region. During the protracted talks, Prince Tsitsianov threatened the khanates with the sad fate of Ganja and argued that Russia’s military might made its patronage the best option for the three khans. The Russian commander, who was rubbing up against Iranian interests in the region and knew this, preferred the wait-and-see policy, a wise decision in view of the khanates’ considerable military potential.

In 1805, broken by the pressure, ruler of Karabakh Ibrahim Khalil Khan signed a Promise on Oath with Russia, the first legally binding document; the first step toward uniting Karabakh to Russia had thus been made. The treaty signed in the Kurekchay military camp became known as the Treaty of Kurekchay; its eleven articles gave Russia all the advantages. From that time on, the Karabakh Khanate became a Russian protectorate: it renounced its right to deal with third states and with its neighbors on its own; the khan was expected to pay Russia an enormous annual tribute of 8,000 chervontsy (24 thousand Russian rubles); cover the upkeep expenses for his grandson held hostage at the Tiflis residence of the commander-in-chief; and accept a unit of 500 Russian soldiers stationed at the Shusha fortress.

Russia, in turn, pledged not to interfere in the khanate’s internal affairs—the only concession Ibrahim Khalil Khan wrung from the Russian negotiators. As soon as the treaty was signed, on 8 July, 1805, Czar Alexander I made the khan a Russian general; from that time on, he was expected to obey the orders of the commander-in-chief of the Russian troops in the Caucasus. As a diplomatic document, this treaty meant that the Karabakh Khanate became a Russian protectorate as an Azeri state.1

Having captured the strategically important Karabakh Khanate, the Russians could move on to occupy the rest of Azerbaijan. The khanate’s mountainous part allowed Russians to control the west of the country. The rest proved easy; the task was made even easier by the khans, who, unable to agree on the common future of their peoples and khanates, failed to close ranks in the face of Russian pressure. In a letter to the Russian emperor, Prince Tsitsianov described the new acquisition as the “gate to Azerbaijan;” he wrote that Karabakh moved Georgia closer to Baku “which we expect to capture this fall.”2

The Azeri khans, very much afraid of Iran but still hoping it would win the first Russo-Iranian war (1804-1813), followed the ups and downs of the hostilities with bated breath; the Russian army, in turn, did not trust the local Muslims very much. In 1806, when Iran attacked Shusha, Major Lisanevich, who was in command of the Russian garrison, murdered Ibrahim Khalil Khan and all his family to prevent unpleasant surprises on his side; he spared Mekhtikuli Agha, one of his sons. The military rank of lieutenant general of the Russian Army the emperor conferred on the khan was obviously no more than symbolic. Having disposed of Ibrahim Khalil Khan, Russia preserved the status of its khanate: on 10 September, 1806, under a deed of Emperor Alexander I, Mekhtikula Agha replaced his father as ruler of Karabakh. The deed signed by His Imperial Majesty on September 1806 said in part: “We send Our amiable loyal subject M.-Gen. of the Karabakh land and heir Mekhti-Kuli-agha (Mekhtikuli Agha.—J.H.). Our Imperial Grace and Kindness. Having conferred on you and all the people of the Karabakh land the grace of the Supreme Deed in the last year of 1805 to receive you as Our loyal subjects and the benevolent adoption of all conditions which your late father and Our General of the Infantry Prince Tsitsianov set in the interests of the people and your house for all times, We were sorry to hear of the incident which caused the death of Your father Ibrahim Khalil Khan. Today, being assured that you not only remained determined to perform your duty to Our Imperial throne, but that You also served our troops on your own initiative, We reward this commendable confirmation of your loyalty by appointing you khan of Shusha and Karabakh and allow you to own this land under Our Supreme patronage, the patronage of the state and protection of the Russian Empire, to which you should pledge your loyalty as a subject and recognize as Our power over yourself. By Our supreme will, We hereby entrust both you and your future descendents with all the obligations of the Karabakh Khanate and the rights and advantages attached to it and confirmed word for word in this deed. By this We entrust you with the task of ruling the Karabakh people with meekness and fairness and We are convinced that you and your heirs will be unshakable in your devotion to Our Imperial throne and faithful performance of your obligations in accordance with the demands of your loyalty. This, Our Imperial deed, was issued with the hope and as proof of Our Royal benevolence to you and the people of Karabakh; it was personally signed and sealed with the State Stamp. Signed: Alexander.”3

The Russian emperor presented Mekhtikuli Agha with a flag and a saber decorated with precious stones as a symbol of his new position.4 Like the Treaty of Kurekchay before it, the imperial decree of 1806 (the Treaty’s legal extension), which appointed Mekhtikuli Agha ruler of Karabakh, in short, all the documents relating to both the mountainous and valley parts of Karabakh, which was being gradually occupied, speak of the members of the Javanshir House as rulers whom all social groups had to obey. The new khan hated the Iranians and mistrusted the Russians, who exterminated his family, yet as appointed khan he had certain obligations to perform and had to demonstrate caution; his anti-Iranian feelings eventually prevailed.

The Karabakh Khanate Liquidated

The victory over Napoleon allowed Russia to tighten up its Eastern policy. General Yermolov, who was appointed as governor of the Caucasus in 1816, regarded the Azeris as potential enemies; he used any more or less plausible pretext to liquidate the khanates, which at any moment could have become the driving force behind a liberation movement. Armenian General V. Madatov, who represented the governor in Northern Azerbaijan, likewise demonstrated a lot of zeal; together they moved steadily toward their aim: in 1819, the Sheki Khanate was liquidated. Unable to stand the Russians’ pressure any longer, Mekhtikuli Khan fled to Iran, and the Karabakh Khanate became a Russian province. Russian writer and diplomat Alexander Griboedov wrote that 3 thousand Muslim families followed the khan.5 Two years before that, Mustafa Khan of Shirvan escaped to Iran. The khanates were liquidated in violation of the earlier signed treaties. In 1826, the second Russo-Iranian war began with Karabakh serving as the battleground once more. The Iranians, who besieged Shusha for 48 days, had to retreat. On 10 February, 1828, the sides signed a new peace treaty in the village of Turkmanchay outside Tabriz under which the khanates of Northern Azerbaijan, including Karabakh, as well as the Nakhchivan and Irevan khanates, finally became parts of the Russian Empire.

Unification of the Transcaucasus and Russia abounds in illuminating details. Recently, some Armenian and Russian historians and part of the political establishment have been saying that Karabakh was attached to Russia as part of Armenia, but any attentive researcher of the international legal documents of the period will never fail to question the formula according to which Russia acquired not only Karabakh, but also Armenia. Georgia became part of Russia under the Treaty of Georgievsk in 1801, while the Azeri khanates joined Russia under the Gulistan (1813) and Turkmanchay (1828) treaties. The question is: what treaty made Armenia and the territories it claims part of Russia? Prominent Armenian historians did not look far: disdaining the ethics of academic studies, they preferred to ignore the well-known historical facts to write: “Under the Treaty of Gulistan of 1813, which ended the Russian-Persian war of 1804-1813, Russia acquired the Ganja and Karabakh khanates together with the other northwestern provinces of eastern Armenia (the Lori-Pambak, Shamshadin, Zangezur, Kafan, and Shoragel uezds)… Under the Treaty of Turkmanchay (February 1828), which ended the second Russo-Persian war (1826-1928), Russia acquired the Yerevan and Nakhchivan khanates and the Ordubad uezd. In this way, East Armenia became part of Russia.”6 To prove their point, they refer to a documentary collection published by G. Yuzefovich in St. Petersburg in 1869.7 They insist their falsifications, even though they know that neither the Gulistan nor the Turkmanchay treaties published in Yusefovich’s collection say anything at all about the Armenian lands, either eastern or western; no Christian lands are mentioned either. The documents relate to the Muslim khanates, their territories, and their unification with Russia. The Irevan Khanate was a predominantly Muslim state; this is amply confirmed by Russian historical sources. In 1828, when the so-called Armenian region was set up in the territories of the Irevan and Nakhchivan khanates, three quarters of its population were Muslims. General Paskevich wrote to the Chief of General Staff to express his displeasure with General Krasovsky, who was appointed in 1827 as head of the “interim administration” of Irevan, and with member of the interim administration Archbishop Nerses, accusing the former of “giving free rein to Archbishop Nerses in everything and of harmful protection of the Armenians, while three quarters of the region’s population were Muslims.”8

The lost status turned the khanates, including Karabakh, into a colony; it was a long process and took several decades, during which the administrative division of the Transcaucasus changed several times to reach its final configuration in the latter half of the 19th century.

Resettlement of Armenians from Neighboring Countries and Demographic Changes in Karabakh

The khanates of Northern Azerbaijan were replaced with military administrations; Karabakh, with Shusha as its center, became part of the Muslim District administered by the Military-District Head of the Muslim provinces. The new division contradicted the ethnographic, historical, religious, and everyday specifics of the local people, Karabakh being the most glaring example of this. Demography began developing into a political instrument. In 1823, at the beginning of Armenian resettlement, the Russian administrators prepared the Description of the Karabakh Province based on ethnographic and confessional statistics. This valuable historical source says that there were 600 settlements in Karabakh, 450 of them were Muslim; the others (150) were registered as Armenian.9 This highly reliable source says that in 1823 there were 20,095 families in the Karabakh Region (15,729 of them being Muslim and 4,366, or 21.7%, Armenian). Russian researchers and official publications of the 19th century dealing with state politics supply an unbiased picture of Karabakh.10 According to the population census of 1832, there were 20,456 families in Karabakh; while the share of Armenian families increased to 31.6%.11 Whereas in 1823, in Shusha, the center of Karabakh, 1,111(72.5%) out of a total of 1,532 families were Muslim and 421 (27.5%) were Armenian, in 1832, the share of Armenian families increased to 44.9% due to Armenian settlers.12 Russian military historian Vassily Potto wrote that the first large group of Armenians arrived in Karabakh in 1828; on 16 March, 1828, 40 thousand Armenian families moved from Iran to the Irevan Province; later, because of food shortages, 5 thousand of them (the first group of migrants) had to live for a long time on the banks of the Arax River before being finally sent to Karabakh.13 Russian writer Sergey Glinka, likewise, supplied interesting information about the Armenian migrations from Iran to Karabakh. An address by G. Lazarev, an activist of Armenian migration, to the Persian Armenians testifies to the political nature of resettlement. He wrote: “Christians! I have received reliable information that certain ill-wishers are spreading not merely stupid lies, but are also trying to frighten those who have applied for permission to move to blessed Russia in order to force them to retreat from their cherished wish. To disprove this and in conformity with the trust the Armenian people have placed in me, as well as in keeping with the obligation imposed on me by our Commander-in-Chief, I announce that our generous Monarch of Russia allows all who wish to find a safe and happy home in His state to move to Erivan, Nakhchivan, and Karabakh, anywhere you would like to live. There you will receive enough fertile land, partly sown, of which only a tenth part is tilled for the State. —For six years you will be exempt from dues of all kinds, the poorest of you will receive help; —Those who have real estate at home may, after sending their families to Russia, leave agents behind to sell their property; under the Treaty of Turkmanchay, you have five years to accomplish this; —You will leave behind your Motherland, which you love, but the very thought that you are moving to a Christian land should enrapture you. Today, scattered across the Persian lands, Christians will see themselves united; do you know how the Great Monarch of Russia will reward your loyalty? Hurry up! Time is short.—By sacrificing small things for a short time, you will acquire everything forever.”14According to the same author, “Armenians from different villages adjacent to Turkmanchay started moving to Karabakh.”15 He also wrote, “In three and a half months, over 8 thousand families crossed the Arax.”16 In the spring of 1828, when the flow of Armenian migrants was moving toward Arax, Ivan Paskevich gave instructions for the poorest to be settled in Karabakh; this is confirmed by Russian authors.17 This explains why in 1832 Armenians accounted for 31.6% of the province’s population; the Muslims comprised the other 68.4%.18Beginning in 1828, Armenian migration to the Muslim provinces of the Transcaucasus (and to Karabakh among other places) was regulated by Art XV of the Treaty of Turkmanchay.19

Under Emperor Nicholas I’s decree of 21 March, 1828, an “Armenian Region” was set up in the former Irevan and Nakhchivan khanates: “On the strength of the treaty signed with Persia, the khanate, which was detached from Persia to be united with Russia, should be called an Armenian Region everywhere, this name should become part of Our title;”20 it was entrusted to Russian General and Georgian Prince A. Chavchavadze, who was appointed its head.21 At that time, Azeris comprised 74% to 75% of its total population; while the war was still going on, there were 49,875 Muslims and 20,073 Armenians living in the Irevan region. As soon as the “Armenian Region” was set up, 45,200 Armenians moved there from neighboring countries.22Similar processes went on in the Nakhchivan Region: by the time the Russians had occupied it completely, there were 17,138 Muslims and 2,690 Armenians living there. As soon as the khanate was liquidated, 10,670 Armenians arrived within a very short period of time. More or less similar processes were underway in the Ordubad part of the Nakhchivan Khanate: 1,340 Armenians moved in to join the 2,388 Armenians already living there to balance out the 7,247 Muslims.23

In 1911, Russian researcher N. Shavrov published a book called New Challenges to the Russian Cause in the Transcaucasus—Upcoming Sale of Mugan to Aliens based on historical documents, in which he wrote that in 1828-1830, 40 thousand Armenians had moved to the Transcaucasus from Iran and 84,600 Armenians had arrived from Turkey; they settled in the Elizavetpol and Irevan gubernias where Armenians had been practically unknown. He wrote: “Out of the 1 million 300 thousand Armenians who now live in the Transcaucasus over 1 million are newcomers. Russia moved them there.”24 The desire to make the Transcaucasus a predominantly Christian region was too strong; however the local specifics suggested caution. Russian Ambassador to Persia Alexander Griboedov wrote: “We … have been holding forth long enough about how to convince the Muslims to accept their current problems as not lasting forever and how to eradicate their fears that Armenians will seize the land on which they were allowed to settle temporarily.”25 The fears proved justified: the Armenians put down roots in the Azeri lands and eventually became hostile toward the true owners of the land. At one time, Ilya Chavchavadze addressed the Armenians who found shelter in Georgia: “Whether we had a lot or not we gave you shelter, put a roof over your heads, and befriended you. Don’t treat us as enemies in our own home!”26

Ethnic Changes of the Latter Half of the 19th Century

On 10 April, 1840, in the course of the administrative-military reform, the Karabakh Province was transformed into the Shusha Uezd as part of the Caspian Province, with Shemakha as its center. In 1846, it became part of the newly formed Shemakha Gubernia. In 1859, it was transformed into the Baku Gubernia, of which Karabakh became one of the parts. In other words, the Karabakh Khanate, with its center in Shusha, became part of the Russian Empire as Muslim lands and the Azerbaijan Khanate. From the administrative point of view, these lands were ruled as Muslim areas or at least these administrative powers related to the Muslims first of the Shemakha and later of the Baku gubernias. In 1867, the Shusha Uezd became part of the newly formed Elizavetpol (Ganja) Gubernia.27 At the same time, the Shusha Uezd was divided and Karabakh, in turn, was divided among the Zangezur, Javanshir, and Jabrail uezds; it seems that by that time it had been decided to place the stakes on the Armenians.

The next powerful Armenian wave reached the Transcaucasus after the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878 and the developments of 1893-1894 in Turkey. This time the state demonstrated that it had developed a migrant policy. The new wave changed the religious and ethnic makeup of Karabakh. The population census of 1897 revealed that there were 1,100,138 Armenian migrants in the Transcaucasus, while in the Caucasus the figure was even larger (1,124,948 Armenians).28 To underrate the importance of the absolute numerical domination of the Tatars (Azeris), H.F.B. Lynch, a famous traveler, MP, and member of the British Royal Geographic Society, wrote that the Tatars (Azeris) were locked in an irreconcilable religious confrontation between the Sunni and the Shi‘a.29 He had to admit, however, that in Irevan there was approximately the same number of Tatars (Azeris) and Armenians and that the Azeri language was the lingua franca between the Caucasian mountain range and the “Armenian valleys.”30

According to the 1897 population census, 62,868 (43.3%) of the 138,771 people living in the Shusha Uezd were Azeris and 73,953 (51.1%) were Armenians; the figures for the Zangezur Uezd were 71,216 (52.3%) Azeris and 63,622 (46.4%) Armenians out of a total of 137,871; in the Javanshir Uezd, 52,044 (71.3%) were Azeris and 19,551 (26.7%) were Armenians out of a total of 72,719; and in the Jabrail Uezd 49,189 (74.5%) were Azeris and 15,746 (23.8%) were Armenians out of a total of 66,360. On the whole, 534,086 (60.8%) of the 878,415 people living in the Ganja Gubernia were Azeris and 229,188 (26.1%) were Armenians.31 When compared with the statistics of the early 19th century, these figures speak of great changes in the ethnic makeup of Karabakh. The resettlement policy of the Russian Empire, which settled Christian migrants in the Transcaucasus with the obvious intention of acquiring allies, had a significant effect on the demographic situation in Karabakh. In 1904, the encyclopedic dictionary published in St. Petersburg cited the following figures for the Shusha Uezd (the mountainous part of Karabakh): 58.2% Armenians (against 53.1% in 1897), 41.5% Azeri Tatars (against 45.3% in 1897), and 0.3% Russians. Out of a total of 25,656 people living in the town of Shusha, Armenians comprised 56.5% and Azeris 43.2%.32 British liberal Lynch, who was well-disposed toward Armenians, had to admit that the number of Armenians in the Russian provinces was inflated by migrants from Turkey and Iran.33 In 1822-1826, Armenians had accounted for 9.3% of the total population of the Transcaucasus; in 1916 their share increased to 32.8%.34

Today, Armenian and some Russian authors insist, contrary to the facts, that in the 19th century Azeris moved in great numbers to Nagorno-Karabakh. V. Zakharov and S. Sarkisyan, for example, wrote that numerous documents testify to the fact that in the 19th century Azeris were actively settling in Nagorno-Karabakh (!).35 They failed, however, to give references to any of the “numerous documents.”

Mounting Ethnic Tension in the Caucasus

In the 1890s, the century-long period of Armenian patronage came to an end. In 1896, newly appointed Governor General of the Caucasus Prince Golitsyn took measures to trim the Armenian influence and improve relations with the Muslims. He fired Armenian civil servants in great numbers to create vacancies for Muslims; in 1903, he requisitioned the property of the Armenian Church. The Armenians responded with terrorist acts against top imperial bureaucrats; in 1903, Prince Golitsyn was wounded and had to quit his post and the region. Armenian terrorist organizations hunted down top officials of the Russian Empire and fanned the flames of the Armenian-Muslim confrontation “with no precedence in the Caucasus since the first day of Russia’s power in the Territory.”36 In contrast to Prince Golitsyn, new Governor General Count Vorontsov-Dashkov appointed in May 1906 liked the Armenians and never tried to conceal this; he was convinced that friendship with the Armenians was the cornerstone of Russia’s rule in the Transcaucasus. This stirred the leaders of the Armenian groups in the Caucasus into action and increased the interest in the Armenian Question. Western Europe, in particular, became convinced that “Russia alone can help the Armenians to achieve their political ideas and improve the lot of the Armenians in Turkey.”37

The first clashes between Azeris and Armenians took place in Baku during the revolutionary events of 1905; very soon the enmity spread to the rest of Azerbaijan, gathered a lot of vehemence in Karabakh, and echoed in Irevan and Tiflis. The first large-scale Armenian-Muslim conflict caused up to 10 thousand casualties on both sides and put the relations between the two peoples on a qualitatively new footing. The better-organized and better-armed Armenians resorted to terror and “scorched land” tactics; they relied on surprise attacks to drive the Azeris from the lands “earmarked for the Armenian state,” Irevan and Karabakh in particular. Any attentive researcher of the geography of the Armenian-Muslim clashes at that time will see that they were concentrated in the regions in which Shi‘a Muslims predominated.

World War I and the Russian revolution changed the situation in the Transcaucasus beyond recognition; the military operations on the Russo-Turkish front eventually led to great calamities. In the fall of 1914, the first units of Armenian volunteers from the Transcaucasus appeared on the Turkish front. The tragic end is all too well known: Turks and Armenians were exterminated in huge numbers in Eastern Anatolia. Today, the Armenians insist that this was an act of genocide against the Armenian nation; the truth, however, is much more complicated. There is a more or less widely shared opinion that two flows of refugees—Muslims who fled the Caucasus and Armenian armed bands and Armenians moving in the opposite direction from Turkey to Russia—clashed. This caused the tragedy, the echo of which still reverberates across the region. This was not genocide for the simple reason that at that time Armenians were fairly safe in Western Turkey. A secret report of General Bolkhovitinov, Head of Staff of Russia’s Caucasian Front, dispatched to the czar and the reports of Russian diplomat V. Maevsky clarify the situation.38 

In his report addressed to Military Assistant to the Viceroy (kept in the Intelligence Department of the Headquarters of the Caucasian Army) and entitled Correspondence about the Armenian Unit, its Organization and Activities General Bolkhovitinov said that in October-November 1894 “bloody clashes, practically all of them initiated by Armenians, were gradually growing in numbers in the vilyaets of Asian Turkey—Trabzon, Erzurum, Van, Bitlis, Sivas, Diyabekir, Kharput, Urfa, Adana, and Khaleb.”39 

In 1914-1915, so-called fidains were involved in military operations in Turkey and exterminated Turkish civilians. This term was applied to the Armenian units; the first fought under notorious Chetnik Andranik; the second unit was headed by Russian Armenian Dro; the third, by Amazasp, who was later involved in heinous crimes in Azerbaijan in 1918; the fourth fought under Kery, comrade-in-arms of Yefrem known for his attempted murder of Sattar Khan in Atabek Park.40

Later the four Chetniks demonstrated unsurpassed cruelty when dealing with Muslim civilians in Baku, Shemakha, Guba, and especially in Nakhchivan, Zangezur, and Karabakh.41 V. Maevsky, who since 1895 filled the post of General Consul of Russia in the Ottoman provinces of Van and Erzurum, described the crimes of the Dashnaks and falsifications of the so-called Armenian Question in the following way: “Here I would like not only to say, but also to stress the fact that the lies related to the Armenian Question led the entire Armenian nation along the wrong road, they caused havoc in the minds of probably its best representatives, confused hundreds of Armenians, detached thousands of hands from useful labor and pushed them toward anarchy, toward a chain of afflictions the Armenians in the villages of Asian Turkey had to suffer and which affected the Armenians of the Transcaucasus… The press enveloped the truth about what Armenians were doing in an impenetrable fog which the ray of truth could not pierce.”42 The Russian diplomat was bold enough to reveal the following: “My personal knowledge of the clashes between Armenians and Muslims in Turkish cities and towns suggests that it was the Armenians who started the bloodshed.”43 

On 19 February, 1915, when the Nowruz holyday was about a month away, Mammad Emin Rasulzade described the Armenian atrocities in Kars and Ardahan: “We have information that the Muslims living in the military stretch along the border with Turkey were subjected to cruelties: men were slaughtered, women taken prisoner, children fled to mountains and forests; the entire area is ruined… The refugees are starving, they have no clothes and no footwear, they are destitute… If we managed to present a true and full picture of the sufferings and deprivations of our hapless co-religionists in Kars and Ardahan, our readers would be readying not for the coming holyday, but for mourning.”44 

The genocide, on which the Armenians insist, is not confirmed either by facts or by the documents relating to the 1915 events. This suggests a purposeful provocation. In his report, General Bolkhovitinov wrote that when the Russian troops captured the area of Van, the Armenian units, in their zeal, left not one stone standing and spared no one.45 French academic Georges de Maleville in his La tragédie arménienne de 1915 has rightly written that the talks about the decision of the Turkish government, namely, “the legend about the notorious secret plan to exterminate Armenians to occupy their place is unfounded and primitive.”46 General Nikolaev, who commanded the Russian army in the Caucasus and who found himself in the center of events, wrote in his report that he had no information about massive extermination of the Armenian population in Eastern Anatolia. He wrote that about 50 thousand Armenian refugees left Van and moved toward Tapariz; Kurds murdered about 100 of them. When they returned to Tapariz from Bergri-gala, it turned out that about 500 Armenians had died of illnesses. General Bolkhovitinov wrote that, while these events were unfolding, a large group of refugees (up to 200 thousand) had moved to Russia. During the march, “people died of exhaustion and thirst or starved to death”47 on both sides of the road leading from the southern part of Lake Van to Khoy and, on the other side, to Iğdyr. The events in Eastern Anatolia drove Armenians in huge numbers to the Transcaucasus, which added tension to the already strained situation.

Fatali Khan Khoyski: “If the Armenians Claim Karabakh You Should Refuse to Transfer Erivan to Them”

In February 1917, a new revolutionary dawn rose above all the people of the former Romanov Empire. The people of the Transcaucasus were given the chance to shape their future, but they bungled it. The Dashnak leaders who came to power on 28 May, 1919 laid their territorial claims to Georgia and Azerbaijan on the table. In the fall of 1917, armed Armenian units invaded Karabakh from the Armenian side and plundered 12 Muslim villages; the local Azeris were unable to put up any resistance. In the Baku environs, in Eastern Azerbaijan, the Dashnaks were especially cruel. Under the slogan of establishing Soviet power, units of Amazasp slaughtered 8 thousand civilians in Shemakha and 4 thousand in Guba.48

Simultaneously, Armenian units began slaughtering Azeris in the former Irevan Gubernia; according to certain sources, 150,000 Muslims lost their lives; 80,000 starving and homeless people found shelter in Azerbaijan.49 

The Muslims of the Transcaucasus survived because on 28 May, 1918 Azerbaijan declared its independence; this act inevitably called for delineation of the state borders, which put the Republic of Armenia in a tight spot. Even before the treaty, Armenian representatives approached the government of Azerbaijan and were treated with understanding.

On 29 May, Chairman of the Council of Ministers Fatali Khan Khoyski reported to the Azerbaijani National Council about the negotiations with members of the Armenian National Council. He said that to set up an Armenian Federation, the Armenians needed a political center. Since the city of Alexandropol had been captured by the Turks, he said, the Armenians needed Irevan, and it should be transferred to them. All those who took part in the discussion (Kh. Khasmamedov, M.Yu. Jafarov, A. Sheikhulislamov, and M. Magerramov) agreed that the transfer of Irevan was an inevitable evil. The debates were closed.50 

Two days later, however, delegates from Irevan, Mir Khidayat Seidov, Bagir Rzaev, and Nariman bek Narimanbekov, protested against the transfer of their native city to the Republic of Armenia; the Azerbaijani National Council, which met for another sitting on 1 June, declined the protest.51 The following formula was accepted: Azerbaijan would not object to setting up an Armenian state within the limits of the “Alexandropol Gubernia,” if the Armenians, in turn, dropped their claims to part of the Elizavetpol Gubernia (Nagorno-Karabakh).52 

On 31 July, 1918, Chairman of the Council of Ministers Khoyski, when instructing Mammad Emin Rasulzade, who headed the Azeri delegation in Istanbul, on the Armenian Question, mentioned this agreement. He wrote: “Please find enclosed the maps you asked for, one copy each, with the borders of Azerbaijan. You should insist on them; if the Armenians claim Karabakh you should refuse to transfer Erivan to them…”53 

This came to light on 8 October, 1918 in Tiflis during the talks between M.Yu. Jafarov and Armenian diplomatic representative A. Jamalyan; the latter informed his Foreign Ministry: “Today Mr. Jafarov dropped in… Very soon we started talking about Karabakh; he mentioned the goodwill the Azeris had demonstrated at the Batumi Conference and pointed out that Armenia had acquired independence thanks to their efforts; that they had transferred Erivan to us in exchange for our promise not to raise the question of Karabakh.”54 

Once more Karabakh became the center of events; late in the summer of 1918 an Armenian army headed by Andranik invaded Zangezur; before the end of October, the Armenians had destroyed 115 villages, murdered 7,700 Muslims, and wounded 2,500; 50,000 people lost their homes. In the mountainous part of Karabakh, the conquerors showed even more cruelty toward the Azeris.55 The French mission in the Caucasus had to admit: “The way Andranik and the local Armenian committee treated the Tatars (Azeris.—J.H.) was inhuman.”56

Late in September, the Armenians asked von Kress, who represented Germany in the Transcaucasus, to support them on the Karabakh issue. On 28 September, A. Jamalyan, who represented Armenia in Georgia, asked von Kress to keep the Turks away. He argued: “The Armenians of Karabakh differ from the Armenians from other places in their special military talents.”57 Despite his frantic efforts, von Kress said that because of the strained relations with Nuru Pasha he could not help the Armenians.

Late in September, Ottoman and Azeri troops began an offensive against the Dashnaks and, on 1 October, captured Shusha without fighting. The Dashnak units entrenched themselves in the mountains of Karabakh and proclaimed a Nagorno-Karabakh Republic; the problem moved into the sphere of politics, which opened a new stage of its development.

World War I ended in November 1918; Germany and its allies were defeated; the Turks had to leave the Transcaucasus. On Germany’s demand, the Armenians, who relied on Germany, released their pressure on Karabakh. The Dashnaks, who were seeking territorial acquisitions, violated their own promise to refrain from territorial claims until the Paris Peace Conference and went on with their provocation. Early in December, they launched an offensive on Georgia and Azerbaijan; in Zangezur, they destroyed up to 40 Muslim villages before the resolute protests by the British stopped them. We do not know why the British wanted peace and quiet in Karabakh. They probably sympathized with the Christians, or wanted to deprive Russia of its trump card, or tried to set up a geopolitical “Christian barrier” between Turkey and the Transcaucasus.

Early in January 1919, Commander of the Allied Troops in the Region Major General W.M. Thomson appointed Khosrov bek Sultanov, representative of the Azeri government, as Governor General of Karabakh and Zangezur.58 The council of three Armenians, three Azeris, and one British of the Allied mission was headed by Sultanov and his Armenian aide. The Dashnak leaders of Karabakh rejected this compromise.59 “Reacting to the bitter Armenian criticism, General Thomson remarked: ‘The fact is that in Azerbaijan some Armenians are very disappointed that the British occupation is not an opportunity for revenge. They are reluctant to accept that [the] peace conference is going to decide, not military forces’.”60[60] Early in December 1918, General Thomson, in his telegram to the Armenian leaders of the Ganja, Kazakh, and Javanshir uezds, demanded that they stop their criminal activities and plundering and issued an order: “All Armenians are advised to remain indoors and keep a low profile, otherwise they will be called to account for bloodshed and crimes.”61[61]

British journalist Robert Scotland Liddell, who worked in the conflict zone in 1919-1920, wrote that Armenia was looking for trouble; as soon as it caused a conflict, it described it as a “pressure instrument.” This was its own punishment, he concluded. “Armenia is unhappy because the Dashnaktsutyun Party is in power. This is a terrorist revolutionary organization that has been deliberately inciting Armenians against the Muslims for many years. After being justly punished by the latter, they start wailing to stir up sympathy ‘for the poor Armenians… Each and every dead Armenian is treated as valuable evidence to be used for propaganda’.”62

Armenian versus Moslem by Scotland Liddell, The Graphic, 8 May 1920
Armenian versus Moslem by Scotland Liddell, The Graphic, 8 May 1920

The British, irritated with the stand taken by the national council of the Karabakh Armenians incited by the Dashnaks, promised to move the Dashnaks as far as possible from these parts. Under this pressure, the Armenians shifted their position: they agreed, albeit with small amendments, to accept the Azeri Governor General and to move toward mutually acceptable forms of cooperation. On 25 June, 1919, the Azeri government invited the Armenian leaders to set up a mixed government-parliamentary commission of both sides and the Allied powers to address all debatable issues. Early in July, M. Rustambekov, member of the Azeri parliament, represented the government at the Sixth Congress of Karabakh Armenians. On 15 August, 1919, the fourth morning session of the Seventh Congress of representatives of the Armenian peasants of the mountainous part of Karabakh finally decided to obey the Azerbaijani government and start living peacefully with the Azeris within Azerbaijan.63

On 9 September, 1919, on the instructions of the Azerbaijani government, Chairman of the Azeri delegation at the Paris Peace Conference Ali Mardan-bey Toptchibachi handed the Conference chairman a document which said in part that “the representatives of the Armenian population of Karabakh have decided to obey the Azerbaijani government.”64

Throughout this time Bolshevik Russia, in the throes of a civil war raging in its territory, had let Azerbaijan out of its sight. In January 1920, the West seized the opportunity to meet Azerbaijan halfway: on a suggestion by Lord Curzon, the Supreme Council of the Allies recognized de facto first Azerbaijan and then Georgia and Armenia as independent states.65 The Armenian delegation at the Paris Peace Conference, which spared no effort to spread false information and detach Karabakh from Azerbaijan, did not succeed.66 The victory was short-lived. People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs Georgy Chicherin admitted that a diplomatic agreement had been concluded, under which Britain, in disregard of its international mandate, left the Caucasus of its own free will.

This happened because Turkey, which was facing inevitable territorial disintegration, had found a common language with the Bolsheviks; Britain packed its suitcases, while the Red Army moved southward. In the small hours of 23 March, 1920, the Armenians, having learned that the Red Army, which was following the retreating soldiers of General Denikin, had come close enough, seized the opportunity presented by the wide-scale celebrations of Nowruz, the local new year, to riot in Shusha and elsewhere in Karabakh. Confronted by the rioters who had closed ranks with the Armenian units, the Azerbaijani government had to dispatch all its troops to Karabakh. This was one of the worst pages in the history of Azerbaijan. Fierce fighting in Karabakh and elsewhere supplied the Azeri Communists with a chance to turn to Russia for help. The French High Commissioner in Istanbul reported to Paris through diplomatic channels: “The Karabakh events have caused a concentration of Azeri troops in the south, while the northern borders remain open.”67 While the Bolsheviks were moving into Baku, 8 thousand soldiers of the Azeri national army remained concentrated in the Khankendi area of the Shusha Uezd.68

Sovietization of Azerbaijan and the Karabakh Issue

On 28 April, 1920, Soviet troops occupied Baku; the next day, Dashnaks from Armenia convened a congress in Karabakh to pass a decision on uniting Nagorno-Karabakh with the Republic of Armenia. The Armenian delegation, engaged in secret anti-Azeri talks with Soviet Russia, promptly delivered this decision to Georgy Chicherin in Moscow.69 It was impossible to capitalize on the occupation of Azerbaijan and realize the decision. Russian troops entered Karabakh a month after they had occupied Baku; Azerbaijan lost its independence; some time later this happened to Georgia and Armenia. In this way, in two years, Russia, now Soviet Russia, regained its grip on the Transcaucasus.

Soviet power in the Transcaucasus, however, did not remove the Karabakh issue from the agenda; the loss of independence of the three republics merely deprived it of any meaning. Russia was obviously following in the footsteps of czarist foreign policy. Soviet power detached bits and pieces of Azerbaijan’s territory; in the first years of Soviet power, when the Center joined primordial Azerbaijani lands to Armenia, true patriots, unable to reconcile themselves to this injustice, wrote to Lenin to complain that the lands which had, beyond a doubt, been part of Azerbaijan under the Musawat government had become disputed areas under Soviet power. They warned that the common people were aware of all this and were discontented.70

In April, occupied Azerbaijan lived through several fierce Armenian attacks; on 30 April, 1920, the Soviet government in Baku sent a note to the Armenian government.71 Until mid-May 1920, the Azerbaijani S.S.R. and the Republic of Armenia exchanged threatening notes.72 The French mission in the Caucasus informed the French government about the developments and deemed it necessary to point out that “the Tatars (Azeris.—J.H.) were in the majority in the disputed Karabakh area even though there were many Armenians living there.”73

From the very first days of Soviet power, the Armenians in Karabakh and elsewhere demonstrated a lot of activity; their violence against the Muslims was not punished, mainly because Azerbaijan and its army were not strong enough, while the troops were demobilized. On 24 May, the French Commissioner in the Caucasus wrote in his report to the French Foreign Ministry: “One can say that the Azerbaijani army was disbanded with the exception of a short stretch of the Armenian front in the Karabakh and Zangezur sectors.”74 The Armenians seized the opportunity to invade the defenseless country to realize their aggressive plans; they captured lands and murdered their Muslim owners with particular cruelty. On 29 June, 1920, Sergey Kirov informed People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs Georgy Chicherin that the Dashnaks were exterminating Muslims and Russians: “Only 15 thousand of the 30-thousand Russian population in the Kars Region remained; the others either fled to Turkey or Russia or were killed.”75

On 19 June, N. Narimanov, M. Mdivani, A. Mikoyan, and A. Nurijanyan sent a telegram to Chicherin in which they informed him of the Dashnak army’s onslaught and its success in Kazakh and Kedabek. A copy sent to Grigory (Sergo) Orjonikidze in Vladikavkaz contained the following telltale passage: “The Armenians are in fact in a state of war with Azerbaijan. As for the allegedly disputable Karabakh and Zangezur, which have become part of Soviet Azerbaijan, we categorically state that these places should, without doubt, in the future too, remain within Azerbaijan.”76 On 22 June, 1920, the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs, enraged by the fact that the well-known Bolsheviks working in the Caucasus, Baku and, on the whole, Azerbaijan were dead set against the Center’s policy, complained to the Politburo of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.) about “the lack of discipline among the Baku comrades and the scandalous contradiction between their actions and the line of the C.C.” He suggested that the Council of the People’s Commissars send a competent comrade not connected with the Caucasian group of Communists to Baku; he recommended Sokolnikov as such.77

He argued that this should be done because the “Baku comrades” were undermining any compromises and rejecting an agreement with Armenia, on which the C.C. insisted. Chicherin complained to Lenin that Narimanov was supporting belligerent sentiments among the Azeris.78 He wrote that if the disputed territories captured by Russia were transferred to Azerbaijan, an agreement with Armenia would be impossible. This explains why, in the summer of 1920, half of the Bolshevik army stationed in Azerbaijan was moved, on Moscow’s insistence, to Karabakh and Zangezur.79 People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs Chicherin followed his own, very specific logic. Two months before that, Azeri lands had been occupied by Soviet Russia and declared disputable; it was no longer said that Azerbaijan should keep these lands as its own; it was said instead that they should be “attached” to it. The People’s Commissar wrote: “This very belligerent policy of the Baku comrades goes against the line of the Central Committee.”80 The People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs went as far as misinforming Lenin: when asked to supply information, he answered that “he did not know enough about the Caucasian affairs” and specified: “Karabakh is an original Armenian locality, but the Tatars exterminated the Armenians in the valleys to settle there, while Armenians remained in the mountains.” Georgy Chicherin went on to explain to Lenin that “so far Russia is not transferring these lands to the Armenians so as not to offend the Tatars. When conditions for the Sovietization of Georgia and Armenia appear, the problems will disappear of their own accord.”81 His numerous explanations and telegrams sent to Lenin, Orjonikidze, and Narimanov make it abundantly clear: Karabakh was nothing but “small change” and bait in the talks with Armenia. It comes as no surprise that Nariman Narimanov deemed it necessary to write to Lenin: “Comrade Chicherin’s telegram clearly shows that you are receiving biased information.”82

Under the Musawat Government, the Whole of Karabakh Belonged to Azerbaijan

Neither the intrigues, nor lies, nor threats of the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs weakened the determination of Nariman Narimanov and his supporters. Stronger Armenian claims to the mountainous part of Karabakh forced those Bolsheviks who were well-known in the Caucasus (M. Mdivani, A. Mikoyan, and B. Naneishvili) and even members of the Military Council of the 11th Army, Zh. Vesnik, M. Levandovsky, and I. Mikhaylov, to send a letter to the C.C. R.C.P. (B.) which said: “We believe that it is our duty to inform the C.C. of our concerted opinion about Karabakh and Zangezur; the decision which is planned as intermediate in the talks with Armenia will contradict the interests of the revolution in the Caucasus. Under the Musawat government, the whole of Karabakh was part of Azerbaijan. The inseparable cultural and economic ties between Karabakh and Zangezur and Baku, which employed tens of thousands of workers from these provinces, and the complete isolation of these provinces from Erevan were confirmed in 1919 by the Congress of Armenian Peasants of Karabakh which, even under the Musawat regime (insufferable for the Armenians) and despite provocation by Armenian agents, resolutely supported complete unity with Azerbaijan on the condition that a peaceful life for the Armenians be guaranteed.”83 The authors concluded that the Muslim masses would regard Soviet power as perfidious if it proved unable to preserve the old borders of Azerbaijan. They wrote that this would be taken as Armenian-philism or as the weakness of Soviet power and warned against indecision in the question of Karabakh and Zangezur “so as not to turn Azerbaijan into a mongrel supported by the Red Army and handed out to the Armenians and Georgians.”84

On 29 June, 1920, People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs Chicherin announced that Boris Legran had been appointed as official representative in Irevan. This was done to make recognition of Armenia look official which, he imagined, would establish good-neighborly relations between the two countries, settle all disputes, remove contradictions, and strengthen peace between Russia and Armenia. The mission was instructed to draft a treaty between the two countries.85

The next day, the Soviet leaders under Chicherin’s pressure and despite the vehement protests of Narimanov and the Caucasian Bolsheviks halted the Red Army, which was moving toward Armenia. Armed with a decision of the Politburo of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.) of 30 June, Georgy Chicherin increased the pressure on those who represented the Center and pulled the political reins in Azerbaijan. In his telegram to Orjonikidze dated 2 July, he said that Russia needed a territorial contact to go on with its negotiations with the Turkish national center, which meant that an agreement with Armenia was indispensable. The People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs pointed out that a treaty with Armenia was the only instrument of Bolshevik influence in Asia Minor.86 In another ciphered telegram sent the same day, Chicherin tried to convince Orjonikidze that Soviet Russia needed a compromise with the Dashnak government of Armenia: “The Azerbaijani government has described as disputable not only Karabakh and Zangezur, but also the Sharur-Daralaghez Uezd. The latter has never been disputed and even the Musawat government always regarded it as Armenian. Without it, Armenia will have practically nothing left. After resisting for a long time, the Armenian delegation at the peace talks agreed to accept Karabakh and Zangezur as disputed territories in the hope of finally acquiring large chunks of them. The delegation is firm about the Sharur-Daralaghez Uezd. On the other hand, we need an agreement with the Azerbaijani government so that our treaty with Armenia does not contradict the demands of Azerbaijan. We ask you to use your exceptional influence in Baku to convince the Azerbaijani government to yield on its demand to describe the Sharur-Daralaghez Uezd as a disputed territory and limit it to Karabakh and Zangezur.”87

After receiving Chicherin’s ciphered telegram of 2 July, 1920 and discussing the issue with newly appointed Envoy Plenipotentiary of Soviet Russia to Armenia B. Legran and A. Gabrielyan, Orjonikidze informed Moscow directly that “Azerbaijan insisted on the immediate and unconditional unification of Karabakh and Zangezur. I think this should be done since economically both uezds are attached to Baku and have absolutely no ties with Erivan. The Bayazet Turkish Army, which has wedged its way in, has made this especially obvious. If their disputed status is preserved they will be occupied by the Turks, who will slaughter the Armenian population. We cannot avert this. If united with Azerbaijan, the Azeri Communists will acquire a trump card and will open the road for the nomads. According to Comrade Gabrielyan, the Armenian delegation will undoubtedly accept this. In this case, it will be possible to convince Azerbaijan to drop its claims to the other regions. I think that Karabakh and Zangezur should be immediately united with Azerbaijan. I will force Azerbaijan to grant autonomy to these regions; this should be done by Azerbaijan, but in no way should this be mentioned in the treaty.”88 By means of another direct communiqué, Orjonikidze informed Lenin, Stalin, and Chicherin in so many words that the Armenian government had deliberately misinformed them: “Today Gabrielayn told me that the Armenian delegation will accept immediate unification of Karabakh and Zangezur with Azerbaijan if it drops its claims to the Sharur-Daralaghez Uezd and the Nakhchivan Region. We have agreed among ourselves that when we are in Baku we will talk to Narimanov about this. You can see for yourself that there is no lack of clarity or understanding. I assure you that we are fully aware of our peaceful policy and are sticking to it. I am convinced, and this is my deepest conviction, that to strengthen Soviet power in Azerbaijan and to keep Baku in our control, we must join Nagorno-Karabakh; its valley part is out of the question: it has always been Azeri and part of Zangezur. Azerbaijan has guaranteed safety of the Armenians living there. We shall grant autonomy and organize the Armenian population without moving Muslim armed units there.” He deemed it necessary to warn: “Any other decision will shatter our position in Azerbaijan and will give us nothing in Armenia. I know that we might need Armenia under certain political circumstances. The decision rests with you; we shall follow suit. Let me tell you that this treatment of Azerbaijan undermines our prestige among the broad masses of Azeris and creates fertile soil for the efforts of our adversaries.”89 After the April coup of 1920, Orjonikidze remained for some time on the side of Azerbaijan, which was considered “Soviet power’s firstborn in the Caucasus” in its relations with Georgia and Armenia. Some people in Moscow did not like this; the irritation being especially obvious in the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs. Georgy Chicherin, who headed this group, blackmailed Orjonikidze, whom he called a latent Orientalist and lover of the Muslims. Orjonikidze parried the attacks by saying that he had nothing to do with Muslim nationalism and there was not a single Tatar among his ancestors.90

He knew who was stirring up the trouble in the Center and had to go directly to Nadezhda Allilueva, an official in the Council of People’s Commissars and Stalin’s wife, with a request to strike Chicherin from the list of addressees of his latest message. He also wanted to know: “Where is Stalin? I, and not only I, am interested in his opinion on the issue. At least tell him that Chicherin and Karakhan have pushed me into a tight corner once more.”91 Chicherin was of a different opinion; in a telegram to Orjonikidze dated 8 July, he wrote: “We all know that the time will come for Armenia’s Sovietization; it is too early to do this now. The best we can do now is to declare Karabakh and Zangezur disputed areas; to do this we need an agreement from the Azerbaijani government. We badly need this; we should sign an agreement with Armenia. The situation in the world demands this; this can be done if we declare Karabakh and Zangezur, and only them, disputed areas.”92

Karabakh in the Center of the Intrigues of Georgy Chicherin and Lev Karakhan

These two people pushed the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs toward cooperation with Armenia at the expense of Azerbaijan. On 16 July, Orjonikidze, unable to withstand the pressure, telegraphed Lenin, Stalin, and Chicherin with a request not to enter a peace treaty with Armenia before the Azeri delegation arrived. He wrote: “The local comrades are very concerned about the possibility of peace with Armenia without involving Azerbaijan.”93Anastas Mikoyan, member of the C.C. Communist Party of Azerbaijan (Bolsheviks), was of the same opinion. On 29 June he wrote to Orjonikidze: “We are all enraged by the Center’s policy toward Karabakh and Zangezur. You should also defend our opinion in the Center. We have nothing against peace with Armenia but not at the expense of Karabakh and Zangezur.”94 This shows that, strange as it may seem, Soviet Russia and Dashnakian Armenia were engaged in secret negotiations about Azerbaijan, to which it was not invited and to which it had not agreed. The developments in Armenia copied what had happened with Georgia a month before: a lot of interesting information had traveled in the ciphered parts of the telegram Orjonikidze and Kirov sent to Lenin and Stalin. They believed that a treaty with Georgia without clarifying the position of Azerbaijan was fraught with failure: “We want to know why we are signing a treaty with Georgia and refusing to sign a treaty with friendly Azerbaijan. If you have different plans for Azerbaijan, why are we being kept in the dark?” In the ciphered part they warned: “You should not put forward the name of Karakhan as the author of the Eastern policy. Here the Zaqataly scandal is interpreted as Armenian perfidy.”95 Lev Karakhan, who filled the post of Deputy People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs, did play an important role in shaping and realizing the anti-Azeri policy of the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs of Soviet Russia. The ciphered and open documents of the time directly point to him as the main plotter. Grigory Orjonikidze wrote in an open letter: “Karabakh is another Zaqataly of our Commissariat for Foreign Affairs. An enormous provocation is underway here: it is rumored that this is stirred up by the Armenians in Moscow.”96

In a ciphered telegram of 19 July, Chicherin wrote to Legran: “Your suggestion, to which Azerbaijan has agreed, means that Karabakh will be transferred to Azerbaijan, while Zangezur will remain a disputed territory. The rest will remain in Armenia; the Armenian delegation, however, finds this unacceptable. The problem can be resolved only through direct talks with the Armenian government. The delegation in Moscow believes that it has not been empowered to agree to these serious territorial concessions.”97 The same day, the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs sent another telegram to Minister for Foreign Affairs Oganjanyan in which he tried to convince him that “everything Soviet Russia is doing in the Caucasus is intended as friendly assistance to the Armenian people and its further peaceful development.” He also informed that the problems related to the “disputed territories” captured by Russian troops will be discussed between Azerbaijan and Armenia in a peaceful and unbiased manner.98 Sergey Kirov, in turn, tried to convince Boris Legran that “Chicherin will be glad if the Armenians accept this decision, if they agree right now to renounce all of Karabakh and recognize Zangezur, Nakhchivan will become theirs. Chicherin will be delighted with this decision. You have to insist on this in Erivan.”99 Despite Kirov’s unprecedented pressure on Azerbaijan, the gap between the Azeri and Armenian positions remained as wide as ever. The talks between Kirov and People’s Commissar M. Huseynov and the Armenian representatives in Tiflis ended in nothing. On 6 August, he wrote to Chicherin that he had only convinced the Azeris to cede the Sharur-Daralaghez Uezd to Armenia; the Azeris regarded the rest, that is, the Nakhchivan Uezd, Ordubad, Julfa, Zangezur, and Karabakh, as decidedly their own. The Armenian representatives were no less determined to claim the regions. The Azeris argued that under the Musawat government these regions had belonged to Azerbaijan and that, therefore, if it ceded them, Soviet power would lose its prestige in the eyes of the Azeris, Iranians, and Turks.100

On 20 July, in another telegram to Boris Legran, Georgy Chicherin used the dissatisfaction expressed by Nariman Narimanov to explain that the advance of Soviet troops on Armenia had been halted not by the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs, but on an order of the Revolutionary Military Council, which had allegedly done this out of fear of the Turks in Nakhchivan. To pacify Narimanov, Chicherin wrote to Legran: “Explain to Comrade Narimanov that it was at his request that I insisted that the Revolutionary Military Council take measures to protect the Azeri lands against the Dashnaks.”101 Narimanov saw through Chicherin’s double game. Early in August he wrote to B. Shakhtakhtinsky, who had arrived in Moscow on 31 July to fill the post of Azerbaijan’s permanent representative: “Armenian bands have plundered the villages along the border; recently a true war has been raging there. This is not a war but systematic encroachments of Armenians on the territory of Azerbaijan. According to the latest report, Armenian regular units are approaching Gerusy. Comrade Chicherin writes to me: we should prevent national carnage; Azeri units should not be involved, etc. Why are Armenians allowed to slaughter Muslims along the borders with Armenia? I wonder whether Comrade Chicherin could have predicted that the Center’s policy would end precisely in this. In one of his telegrams Comrade Chicherin wrote that I accused him. Speaking of protests I should have lodged dozens of protests. In order to avoid misunderstandings, we should have adhered to a tough policy toward corrupt Armenia.”102

The Treaty between Soviet Russia and Armenia Was Spearheaded against Azerbaijan

On 10 August, 1920, the talks in Moscow and Irevan ended in a treaty of six articles, four of which dealt with a deliberately fanned territorial dispute with Azerbaijan. In the Preamble, Soviet Russia recognized the sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Armenia. Under Art 1 of the Treaty, the hostilities between the troops of the R.S.F.S.R. and the Republic of Armenia were discontinued as of midday on 10 August, 1920. Under Art 2, the troops of the R.S.F.S.R. occupied the disputed regions of Karabakh, Zangezur, and Nakhchivan; the Armenian troops remained in a specified strip. Art 3 said that the occupation by Soviet troops of the disputed territories did not predetermine the answer to the question about the rights of the Republic of Armenia and the Azerbaijan Socialist Soviet Republic to these territories. The same article further stated that the temporary occupation by the R.S.F.S.R. of these territories was intended to create conditions conducive to a peaceful resolution of the territorial disputes between Armenia and Azerbaijan; in the future, the issue, said the Treaty, would be settled by means of a comprehensive agreement between the Republic of Armenia and the R.S.F.S.R. Under Art 4, the sides pledged to discontinue concentration of troops in the disputed and border areas. Under Art 5, the Shakhtakhty-Julfa railway stretch was to be exploited by the Administration of the Railways of Armenia on the condition that it would not be used for military purposes until a treaty between the R.S.F.S.R and Armenia had been signed. Under Art 6, the R.S.F.S.R. guaranteed free passage of all armed units of the Government of Armenia which found themselves beyond the line occupied by the Soviet troops.103 The treaty was signed by B. Legran, who represented the R.S.F.S.R. in Armenia, and Jamalyan and A. Babalyan from the Armenian side. On 13 August, Georgy Chicherin informed the Politburo of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.) of the Russian-Armenian treaty, which was approved.104 Russia hastened to sign the treaty with Armenia because, the same day, Turkey and the Entente signed the Sevres Treaty, under which Armenia could have gained a lot. The Russian Soviet diplomats feared, with good reason, that Armenia might be tempted and would fall under the influence of the Entente. Under pressure from Moscow, the half-baked diplomatic document was signed; Armenia was promised the Azeri lands previously transformed by Soviet Russia into disputed territories.

Time and again the Armenian leaders hinted to Moscow that their country was much more important than Georgia and Azerbaijan and that Britain was paying particular attention to their republic. They bragged that its geographic location allegedly made Armenia a bridge across which the British could push on to the Middle East. On the other hand, the Armenian leaders pointed out, Armenia could be used, on the sly, against the Muslim and Turkic worlds.105 The document said the following about Soviet policy: “If the Entente and its henchmen try to exploit the slogan ‘Freedom to the peoples of Turkey suffering under the Ottoman yoke,’ they might succeed in Asia Minor. In this event, Armenia might be needed to take the initiative of freedom into its hands and set up a buffer state on Turkish territory. Even if not completely Soviet, this state might join the sphere of influence of Soviet Russia.”106

From the very first days of Soviet power in Azerbaijan, much was done to transform the primordial Azeri lands into disputed territories; this is best illustrated by the Russian-Armenian treaty. On 19 June, 1920, Grigory Orjonikidze, dispatched to Azerbaijan, telegraphed Lenin and Chicherin that Soviet power had been proclaimed in Karabakh and Zangezur and that both areas believed themselves to be part of Azerbaijan. He deemed it necessary to warn: “In any case, Azerbaijan cannot survive without Karabakh and Zangezur. I think that we should invite an Azeri representative to Moscow to discuss all the issues related to Azerbaijan and Armenia before the treaty with Armenia is signed; repetition of the Zaqataly scandal stirred up by Armenians will undermine our position here.”107 The Treaty of 10 August between Soviet Russia and Armenia, of which Azerbaijan was not informed, can be described as a logical result of the political course of the Central Bolshevist government and of the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs in particular, designed to infringe on the interests of Azerbaijan.

Armenia consistently refused to discuss territorial and border issues with Azerbaijan after the treaty had been signed. On 23 August, Foreign Minister of Armenia Oganjanyan parried an invitation by M.D. Huseynov to call a conference to discuss the debatable problems with the following: “According to a preliminary agreement concluded by the representatives of the Armenian government and Plenipotentiary Representative of the R.S.F.S.R. Boris Legran of 10 August, 1920, the territorial disputes between Armenia and Azerbaijan should be resolved according to the principles formulated by the peace treaty to be concluded between the R.S.F.S.R. and the Republic of Armenia in the near future.”108 Azerbaijan suggested that a conference be convened in Kazakh; Baku appointed two Armenians (I. Dovlatov and A. Mikoyan) and one Georgian (V. Lominadze) as its representatives, but Armenia preferred to stay away.109 It was unperturbed because earlier, in May 1920, it had asked Soviet Russia to mediate in its disputes with Azerbaijan. Lev Karakhan retorted in the name of the governments of Soviet Russia and Azerbaijan: “Until all territorial disputes have been resolved, all disputed territories will remain occupied by the Russian Red Army to prevent mutual national slaughter. The Russian military command has already issued an order.”110

Some people placed the stakes on Armenia in the territorial disputes between the two republics; some of the top officials in Moscow never hesitated to tell lies and never shunned provocations. Long before the treaty was signed, People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs Chicherin wrote in his report to Lenin: “The Azeri government has claimed Karabakh, Zangezur, and the Sharur-Daralaghez Uezd along with Nakhchivan, Ordubad, and Julfa. The larger part of them belongs de facto to the Republic of Armenia. The question is whether Azerbaijan should send its Muslim units of the same Askers, who repeatedly rebelled against Soviet power, to take these lands away. It would be one of the greatest crimes to dispatch Tatar units against the Armenians, this is unacceptable. This is all the more unacceptable now when the Turks are pressing toward these regions from the south. If sent there, Azeri Muslim units will immediately find a common language with the Turks. In general, everything related to these units looks fairly complicated. They have already rebelled; the approaching Turks will incite them even more. The best thing is to send them to Persia, but I do not know enough to judge whether this can now be done. In any case, the Azeri Askers should not be sent against the Armenians to take from them the land that Azerbaijan decided to claim.”

Chicherin, who admitted that he knew next to nothing about Azerbaijan’s domestic policy, did not hesitate to draw a grim picture if Baku got what it wanted: “There is another way to satisfy Azerbaijan: our units should occupy all the above-mentioned areas to present them to Azerbaijan. This is what Narimanov has in mind. The comrades who have arrived from Azerbaijan say there are plans to remove the Muslim Askers to the rear. The Soviet government in Baku, the domestic policy of which has already caused sharp clashes with a large part of the Muslim masses, is looking for a way to compensate (for the loss in image.—Ed.) and bribe the nationalist-minded elements by securing for Azerbaijan the lands which it itself describes as disputed. This combination should not be accomplished by Russian hands—this is unacceptable. We should remain objective and unbiased. It would be a fatal mistake for our Eastern policy to rely on one national element against another national element. If we take any lands from Armenia and transfer them to Azerbaijan, our policy in the East will be distorted.” Georgy Chicherin deliberately complicated the situation to establish a Russian occupational regime in the territories described as disputed. He argued that until a more favorable situation took shape, these territories should not be transferred either to Azerbaijan or to Armenia. Chicherin preferred to contemplate the problem in the context of a treaty with Armenia: “We can hope to sign a treaty with Armenia only if a military status quo survives. We need the treaty to pursue our peaceful policy in the Transcaucasus. This means that we should refuse to occupy any other territory except for that already occupied. We should try to sign a treaty with the Republic of Armenia as soon as possible.”111

The People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs managed to present at least some of his ideas as official and transform them into instructions for the Revolutionary Military Council of the Caucasian Front sent in the name of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.) not to let either Azeri or Armenian officials into the disputed territories.112 The territories described as disputed were in fact parts of Azerbaijan and were still controlled by the Azeri authorities. This meant that Chicherin’s instructions were nothing more than a violation of Azerbaijan’s sovereign rights and territorial integrity. Five days before the treaty was signed, the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan submitted a document entitled Description of the Border of the Undisputed Territory of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic with Armenia; signed by Chairman of the Revolutionary Committee of Azerbaijan N. Narimanov and People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs M.D. Huseynov it had been sent to Moscow113 just on time, before the treaty was signed, but the important information about the borderline remained ignored.

N. Narimanov: “With Its Decisions about Karabakh, the Center Deprived Us of Our Weapon”

The new leaders of Azerbaijan found themselves in a quandary: on the one hand, enticed by revolutionary zeal, Azeri Soviet power imagined that it was close to Soviet Russia; on the other, Soviet Russia, the workers’ and peasants’ ally, detached the lands which had undoubtedly belonged to Azerbaijan under the previous government. By a quirk of fate, Soviet Russia, which had seized Azerbaijan with the help of the Muslim Communists, found new friends in the Transcaucasus and signed allied agreements with Armenia and Georgia to show Europe its “peaceful nature.” This looked ugly, even to the Soviet officials dispatched from Moscow to Azerbaijan. The injustice was glaring. In a long report to Lenin, N. Soloviev, one such person, who filled the post of Chairman of the Council of National Economy of Azerbaijan S.S.R., wrote: “People pinned their hopes on Moscow, but the peace treaties with Georgia and Armenia, under which chunks of Azeri territory with Muslim population were transferred to these republics, shattered, if not killed, these hopes. The Muslim masses concluded that Moscow had not only captured Azerbaijan, but also increased Georgian and Armenian territories at its expense. The fact that Azerbaijan was represented by Georgians at the talks with Georgia and by Armenians at the talks with Armenia looked insulting. The Muslims wondered why Georgia had been represented only by Georgians and Armenia only by Armenians, while the Muslims were not represented at all. The treaty with Armenia under which it acquired part of Azeri territory with Muslim population and a railway of immense strategic and economic importance which blocked the only corridor uniting Azerbaijan with Turkey was the heaviest blow. The ordinary Muslims were puzzled, while certain members of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan explained that the treaty had been compiled on the instructions of influential Armenians who filled high posts in the Center and called themselves Communists while being conscious or unconscious nationalists.114

Prior to the April occupation, the Muslim Communists ridiculed the foreign policy of the national government of Azerbaijan and wrote to Moscow that if the Paris Peace Conference recognized Azerbaijan as an independent state de jure, the republic’s territorial integrity and security could have been ensured. This ended in nothing.115 Later, bitterly disappointed with the developments, they heaped the blame on the Armenians entrenched in the Center. This is testified by all sorts of letters they sent to Moscow.

B. Shakhtakhtinsky, who was appointed as Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Azerbaijan in Moscow on 15 July, was one of the first to raise his voice against the treaty with Armenia and was ignored. His letter to Lenin dated 13 August clearly shows that the diplomat had learned about the treaty from the press and had had no clear idea about its articles. He wrote: “Having acquired the Shakhtakhty-Erivan (about 100 versts) and the Shakhtakhty-Julfa (also about 100 versts) railways complete with rolling stock, the Armenian Dashnaks acquired Persian Azerbaijan and gained access to the British forces in Persia, while we were deprived of our contacts with the Turkish revolutionary movement.” He went on to say: “For several years, the people of the Nakhchivan area have been fighting for their independence… It was through the interference of Britain, which moved its troops into the area, that it was transferred, with the use of force, to the Dashnaks, contrary to the open protests of the local people. As soon as the British left, the local population rioted; the regular Dashnak units with their artillery, machine guns, and an armored train were entirely defeated. The transfer to the Dashnaks of an area, the working people of which liberated itself from them after three years of bloody struggle and insisted on reunification with Azerbaijan, an area where not one Armenian lives, obviously violates the generally recognized principle of self-determination of the people and the rights of Soviet Azerbaijan.”116 In his report On the Situation in Azerbaijan, People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan M.D. Huseynov admitted to Nikolai Krestinsky, a member of the Politburo of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.), that the people were saying that “Russian units have arrived to subjugate Azerbaijan, that the Republic has lost its independence, and that the Red Army is no better than the czarist army.”117

Nariman Narimanov was enraged by Soviet Russia’s arbitrariness toward Azerbaijan; he knew that these provocations had been devised and realized by People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs Chicherin (who since the summer of 1919 had been dead set against Narimanov’s Eastern policy) and his deputy Lev Karakhan. Their posts as heads of the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs allowed them to shape and realize the foreign, especially Eastern, policy of the Soviets. They did not like Azerbaijan and used the Armenian and Georgian factors as the cornerstone of Soviet Russia’s Transcaucasian policy, even though neither of the two republics had been Soviet republics. It should be said in all justice that Chicherin’s anti-Azeri and pro-Armenian stand betrayed Karakhan’s influence, but not only that. A former czarist diplomat, Georgy Chicherin was educated in the pro-Armenian tradition typical of the Eastern, especially Caucasian, policy of the Russian Empire. He wrote to Stalin: “When placing our stakes on the Muslims, we should never forget that one of these days their anti-Bolshevik trend might overcome their anti-British sentiments. I have warned and am warning against placing one-sided stakes on the Muslims represented by Narimanov.”118

In his opposition to Chicherin, Narimanov tried to rely on Lenin, who had pronounced many high-sounding words and been lavish with his promises. Still expecting Lenin to be fair and unbiased, he wrote to him in mid-July: “Comrade Chicherin’s telegram shows that you are receiving biased information or that the Center has succumbed to those who are still cooperating with what remains of Denikin’s crowd against Soviet power in Azerbaijan. If the Center wants to sacrifice Azerbaijan and keep Baku and its oil and renounce its Eastern policy, it is free to do this. I deem it my duty, however, to warn you: you will not be able to keep Baku separated from the rest of Azerbaijan with the perfidious Dashnaks and Georgian Mensheviks as your neighbors. On the other hand, I would like to find out what the Center thinks about us, the Muslims, and how it dealt with these important issues without us. The Center was free to mistrust us, but such senior officials as Orjonikidze and Mdivani, likewise, disagree with its decision. Let me plainly say that with its decision about Karabakh the Center deprived us of our weapon, etc. It added plausibility to the provocative statements of the Musawat Party, which is holding forth that the Muslim Communists allegedly sold Azerbaijan to Russia, a country which recognizes the independence of Armenia and Georgia and, at the same time, insists for some reason that the areas which belonged beyond a doubt to Azerbaijan before Soviet power, become disputable. Comrade Chicherin says that we should obey the Center’s policy, but is the Center aware that it is using us as a screen? We are told in plain terms: ‘You cannot secure the absolutely undisputed territories, but you are holding forth about liberating the East’.” Narimanov ended this bitter letter with the following: “Our representative will arrive in Moscow, therefore I ask you, I beg you, to suspend the Center’s decision about Azerbaijan.”119

In another letter to Lenin, Narimanov informed him about a serious threat to Azerbaijan: “The situation is catastrophic. The Center has recognized Georgia and Armenia as independent states and recognized Azerbaijan’s independence. At the same time, the Center has transferred undisputable Azeri territories to Armenia. Had they been transferred to Georgia, public opinion could have been pacified, but the fact that they were given to Armenia and the Dashnaks is a fatal and irreparable mistake.”120 These letters diminished the Center’s faith in Narimanov. On 19 July, 1920, Lander, an authorized agent of the CHEKA who was spying on Nariman Narimanov, informed Krestinsky, Menzhinsky, Dzerzhinsky, and Lenin in a secret telegram: “The general trend of Azerbaijan’s policy is causing great concern. There is an obvious bias toward independence. Narimanov is the leader of the right national wing.”121

G. Chicherin: “If Turkey Turns against Us, Armenia, Even Armenia of the Dashnaks, Will Serve as an Outpost of Our Struggle against the Advancing Turks”

On 26 August, 1920, Nariman Narimanov insisted on a meeting of the Politburo of the C.C. Communist Party of Azerbaijan (B.) amid the unfolding territorial disputes between Azerbaijan and Armenia and Russia’s patronage of the latter (best confirmed by the Treaty of 10 August). The Politburo appointed A. Shirvani as Extraordinary Commissar of Azerbaijan for Karabakh, A. Garagozov was made his deputy.122 Narimanov had recommended Sultan Majid Afandiyev, a more experienced party activist, for the post, but on 26 August the Organizational Bureau of the C.C. Communist Party of Azerbaijan (B.) disagreed.123 Narimanov was worried because the Bolshevik army of Soviet Russia, which had occupied Karabakh, disarmed the Muslim population while deliberately ignoring the fact that the local Armenians were all well-armed. S. Ataev, authorized agent of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs of the Azerbaijan S.S.R., informed People’s Commissar Sultanov that A. Shirvani’s presence in Shusha “did nothing to considerably improve the fairly shaky revolutionary committee.”124 He also wrote: “There is not a single Armenian who would not call himself a Communist, even though all these Communists have no authentic documents to confirm their party affiliation. They are communists of 28 April, 1920. Financial auditing and revision in the food department immediately revealed a hardly acceptable picture: all the money and huge amounts of foodstuffs were sent practically exclusively to the mountainous Armenian villages, while the ruined and devastated Muslim valleys got next to nothing. The party consists of 900 Armenians (an organization which Russia has failed to set up in three years); it enjoys popular sympathies up to and including armed support of the battalion of local guards staffed with Armenians. The party is armed; it ignores orders about how weapons should be kept. When asked about weapons, the members of this organization answer: ‘We are party members.’ All the Armenian villages in the mountains are likewise armed and obey orders from the agents of the Ararat government; they ignore the order to requisition agricultural products. The party sends its agents to the Armenian villages, but no one knows what they do there.”125

Soviet Russia preferred to ignore Narimanov’s resolute and sometimes even oppositional stand; it followed the policy of humiliation of Azerbaijan devised by the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs. On 20 July, Commissar for Foreign Affairs Chicherin telegraphed Narimanov with a great deal of sarcasm: “So far neither you, nor Orjonikidze have clarified in your telegrams why you and the local Communists are dissatisfied with the occupation of Karabakh and Zangezur by Russian troops and why you want, without fail, their formal annexation to Azerbaijan… We should establish good relations with Armenia because if Turkey turns against us, Armenia, even Armenia of the Dashnaks, will serve as an outpost of our struggle against the advancing Turks.”126 In another letter, Georgy Chicherin deemed it necessary to warn the Politburo of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.) that relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia should be treated as part of Russia’s Turkish policy: “When discussing the Azeri-Armenian disagreements, I have always pointed out that if the Turks acquired aggressive trends in the Caucasus, Armenia will serve as a barrier and will defend us.”127

This explains why, while drafting the Armenian-Russian Treaty, the document entitledDescription of the Border of the Undisputed Territory of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic with Armenia prepared by the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs of the Azerbaijan S.S.R. and sent to Moscow on 5 August was ignored. The authors relied on historical, ethnographic, geographic, and administrative information to describe the borders between Soviet Azerbaijan and Armenia; with minor exceptions the document confirmed the borders between the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and Armenia.

R. Mustafa-zade, author of a highly interesting book about the relations between Russia and Azerbaijan in 1918-1922, has rightly written that as Soviet Russia was consolidating its position in Azerbaijan, the republic was gradually being turned into a sponsor of sorts of the Bolsheviks’ regional policy; its natural resources and territories were used to lull the Georgian and Armenian bourgeois republics and to create conditions conducive to Sovietization of Armenia.128 On 15 October, 1920, the Presidium of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.) pointed out once more that relations with Georgia and Armenia should remain peaceful.129 To quote Nariman Narimanov, “Armenia, which all the time was on Denikin’s side, acquired its independence and part of Azeri territory. Georgia, which has been pursuing a dual policy, acquired its independence. Azerbaijan, the first of the three republics to rush into Soviet Russia’s arms, lost both territory and its independence.”130 On 23 September, 1920, Boris Legran sent a ciphered telegram to Lenin in which he described Soviet Russia’s intentions regarding the Azeri territories: there is no danger in transferring Zangezur and Nakhchivan to Armenia. First, the very idea that Russia needed these territories for its liberating military operations in the Turkish and Tabriz sectors was utopian; second, Zangezur was an Armenian area; our power there was of a hostile and occupational nature, which became especially clear during the Gerusy events; third, one could not disagree with the territorial claims of Azerbaijan. Moscow’s objective and subjective considerations would undoubtedly satisfy Azerbaijan; as for Karabakh, it was possible to insist on its unification with Azerbaijan.131 In another of his telegrams dated 24 October, 1920, this time addressed to Chicherin, Boris Legran described his agreements with the Armenians regarding the Azeri territories: “The Armenians categorically insist that Nakhchivan and Zangezur immediately be recognized as theirs. I pointed out that without Azerbaijan this issue cannot be resolved and that it can be raised only if the Armenians drop their claims to Karabakh. After long discussions they agreed, with minor stipulations, to renounce their claims to Karabakh.”132 After a short while, however, late in November 1920 when Soviet power had been established in Armenia, the struggle for the mountainous part of Karabakh entered a new stage.


For approximately 100 years Karabakh lived under the pressure of czarist Russia and the Bolsheviks, who wanted to change the ethnic and demographic makeup of this very specific region once and for all. Back in the 19th century, Alexander Griboedov, a Russian diplomat and poet, warned that the local Muslim population was very concerned about the prospect of the Armenians temporarily moved there seizing these lands forever. He was absolutely correct.

1 See: “Treaty between the Karabakh Khan and the Russian Empire on the Transfer of the Khanate under Russia’s Power of 14 May 1805,” State Historical Archives of the AR, rec. gr. 130, f. 14, sheets 245-248 (in Russian); Akty Kavkazskoy arkheograficheskoy komissii. Arkhiv Glavnogo upravlenia namestnika Kavkaza,Vol. II, ed. by Commission Chairman A.D. Berge, Tiflis, 1868, p. 705. Back to text
2 Akty Kavkazskoy arkheograficheskoy komissii, Arkhiv Glavnogo upravlenia namestnika Kavkaza, Vol. II, p. 698. Back to text
3 “Vysochaishaia gramota general-mayoru Mekhtikuli aga ot sentyabrya 1806 goda,” Akty Kavkazskoy arkheograficheskoy komissii. Arkhiv Glavnogo upravlenia namestnika Kavkaza, Vol. III, Tiflis, 1868, pp. 336-337. Back to text
4 See: M. Garabaghi, A History of Garabagh. Garabaghname, Book I, Baku, 1989, pp. 147-148 (in Azeri). Back to text
5 See: T. Kocharli, Karabakh: Lies and the Truth, Baku, 1998, p. 52 (in Azeri). Back to text
6 Nagorny Karabakh: istoricheskaia spravka, Erevan, 1988, pp. 14-15. Back to text
7 See: Dogovory Rossii s Vostokom, politicheskie i torgovye, Collected and published by G. Yuzefovich, St. Petersburg, 1869, pp. 208-214. Back to text
8 V.A. Potto, Kavkazskaia voyna. Persidskaya voyna 1826-1828 gg., Vol. 3, Stavropol, 1993, pp. 594-595. Back to text
9 See: Opisanie Karabakhskoy provintsii, sostavlennoe v 1823 godu, po rasporiazheniiu glavnoupravliaiushchego v Gruzii Ermolova, deystvitelnym statskim sovetnikom Mogilevskim i polkovnikom Ermolovym 2-m, Tiflis, 1866, 415 pp. Back to text
10 See: Grazhdanskoe upravlenie Zakavkaziem ot prisoedineniia Gruzii do namestnichestva Velikogo Kniazia Mikhaila Nikolaevicha. Istorichesky Ocherk, Compiled by V.N. Ivanenko on instructions of the Department of Military History, Tiflis, 1901, 525 pp.; V.A. Potto, Kavkazskaia voyna. Persidskaya voyna 1826-1828 gg., Tiflis, 1901; I.I. Shavrov, Novaia ugroza russkomu delu v Zakavkazye: predstoiashchaia rasprodazha Mugani inorodtsam, St. Petersburg, 1911. Back to text
11 See: Grazhdanskoe upravlenie Zakavkaziem…, p. 146. Back to text
12 See: Y. Kocharli, op. cit., p. 100. Back to text
13 See: V. Potto, op. cit., Vol. 3, Stavropol, 1993, p. 591. Back to text
14 S.N. Glinka, Opisanie pereseleniia armian Adderbidzhanskikh v predely Rossii, Moscow, 1831, pp. 107-111.Back to text
15 Ibid., p. 48. Back to text
16 Ibid., p. 92. Back to text
17 See: Ibid., pp. 90-91. Back to text
18 See: Obozrenie Rossiiskikh vladeny za Kavkazom v statisticheskom, etnograficheskom, topograficheskom i finansovom otnosheniakh, Tiflis, 1836, p. 267. Back to text
19 See: Polnoe sobranie zakonov Rossiiskoy imperii, Vol. III, St. Petersburg, 1830, p. 130. Back to text
20 Ibid., pp. 272-273; A History of Azerbaijan, published under the general editorship of Prof. S. Aliyarly, refers to a novel Favorite written by famous author of historical novels Valentin Pikul, who described what Prince Grigory Potemkin and Empress Catherine the Great had said about Armenians: “There are also Armenians—Lazarev and Argutinsky. They are quick on the uptake—they have already chosen Erivan as the capital. What can they do with it if they have no state? ‘If there is no state now, there will be a state in the future,’ said Potemkin” (see: Istoria Azerbaidzhana, ed. by S.S. Aliyarly, Baku, 2008, p. 637). Back to text
21 See: Akty Kavkazskoy arkheograficheskoy komissii. Arkhiv Glavnogo upravlenia namestnika Kavkaza, Vol. VII, Tiflis, 1878, p. 487. Back to text
22 See: Obozrenie Rossiiskikh vladeny za Kavkazom, p. 229. Back to text
23 See: Ibidem. Back to text
24 N.I. Shavrov, op. cit., pp. 59-60. Back to text
25 A.S. Griboedov, Sochinenia v dvukh tomakh, Vol. 2, Moscow, 1971, pp. 340-341. Back to text
26 I. Chavchavadze, Armianskie uchenia i vopiiushchie kamni, Tiflis, 1902, p. 123. Back to text
27 See: Entsiklopedichesky slovar. Brockhaus i Efron Publishers, Vol. XII, St. Petersburg, 1894, pp. 222-223; ibid., Vol. IX, St. Petersburg, 1904, p. 26. Back to text
28 See: Kavkazskiy calendar na 1903 g., Tiflis, 1902, pp. 250-253. Back to text
29 See: Armenia. Putevye ocherki i etyudy Kh.F.B. Lyncha, Vol. I, Russkie provintsii, M. Martirosyants print shop, Tiflis, 1910, p. 571 (H.F.B. Lynch, Armenia. Travels and Studies, in 2 vols, London, 1901). Back to text
30 Ibid., pp. 576-577. Back to text
31 See: R. Mustafa-zade, Dve respubliki. Azerbaijano-rossiiskie otnoshenia v 1918-1922 gg., Moscow, 2006, p. 189. Back to text
32 See: Entsiklopedichesky slovar. Brockhaus i Efron Publishers, Vol. XI, St. Petersburg, 1904, pp. 25-26. Back to text
33 See: Armenia. Putevye ocherki i etyudy Kh.F.B. Lyncha, Vol. I, p. 576. Back to text
34 See: F. Abasov, Garabagskoe Khanstvo, Baku, 2007, p. 15. Back to text
35 See: V.A. Zakharov, S.T. Sarkisian, “Azerbaijano-karabakhskiy konflikt: istoki i sovremennost,” in:Mayendorfskaia deklaratsia 2 noyabrya 2008 goda i situatsia vokrug Nagornogo Karabakha, Collection of articles, Moscow, 2008, p. 223. Back to text
36 Report of General L.M. Bolkhovitinov to His Excellency Military Assistant to the Viceroy of His Imperial Majesty in the Caucasus. 11.12.1915, Russian State Archives of Military History (RGVIA), rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 47 (in Russian). Back to text
37 Ibidem. Back to text
38 See: Ibid., pp. 44-75; Attaques des musulmans dans la region de Kars. 1915, Archives d’Ali Mardan—bey Toptchibachi, carton n° 9. Le Centre d’études des mondes russe, caucasien et centre—européen(CERCEC), l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS, Paris); Documents sur 1915: Adjars, Sarykamis , Archives d’Ali Mardan—bey Toptchibachi, carton n° 9. Le Centre d’études des mondes russe, caucasien et centre—européen (CERCEC), l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS, Paris); V.F. Maevsky, Armyano-tatarskaya smuta na Kavkaze kak odin iz fazisov armyanskogo voprosa, Tiflis, 1915.Back to text
39 Report of General L.M. Bolkhovitinov to His Excellency Military Assistant to the Viceroy of His Imperial Majesty in the Caucasus. 11.12.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 46 (in Russian). Back to text
40 See: Ibid., sheets 53rev.-54. Back to text
41 See: Claims of the Peace Delegation of the Republic of Caucasian Azerbaijan Presented to the Peace Conference in Paris, Paris, 1919, p. 21; Le Lieutenant-Colonel Chardigny, Chef de la Mission Militaire Français au Caucase, à Monsieur le Ministre de la Guerre (Etat-Major de l’Armée, 2°Bureau). Le 15 avril 1919 // Ministère des Affaires Étrangères de France, Archives Diplomatique, Vol. 832, folio 55; F. Kazemzadeh, The Struggle for Transcaucasus (1917—1921), New York, 1951, p. 131; N. Dastakian, II venait de la Ville Noire. Souvenirs d’un Armenien du Caucase, L’inventaire/Cres, 1998, pp. 69, 87-91; V. Stepakov and T. Kuprikov to the C.C. C.P.S.U. 25.06.1965, The Russian State Archives of Contemporary History (RGANI), rec. gr. 5, inv. 33, f. 221, sheet 35 (in Russian); Urgent telegram of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers F.K. Khoyski to head of the Azeri Delegation in Istanbul M.E. Rasulzade. 31.07.1918, Archives of Political Documents at the Administration of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic (APD UDP AR), rec. gr. 277, inv. 2, f. 7, sheets 37-38 (in Russian); on the bloody crimes of Dro (D. Kanyan) in Eastern Anatolia and Azerbaijan, see: Archives of the Ministry of National Security of the Azerbaijan Republic, f. 862, Vol. 3, Part II, sheets 59-69.; on the bloody crimes of Amazasp in Azerbaijan, see: S. Rustamova-Tokhidi, Mart 1918 g. v Baku. Azerbaijanskie pogromy v dokumentakh, Baku, 2009; idem, Guba. Aprel-may 1918 g. Musulmanskie pogromy v dokumentakh, Baku, 2010, pp. 75-77; 154-158, etc. Back to text
42 V.F. Maevsky, op. cit., pp. 36-38. Back to text
43 “Memo of General Consul of Russia in Erzurum V. Maevsky,” quoted from N.N. Shavrov, Novaia ugroza russkomu delu v Zakavkazye: predstoiashchaia rasprodazha Mugani inorodtsam, Elm, Baku, 1990, p. 98. Back to text
44 Iqbal, 19 February, 1915. Back to text
45 See: Report of General L.M. Bolkhovitinov to His Excellency Military Assistant to the Viceroy of His Imperial Majesty in the Caucasus. 11.12.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 71rev. (in Russain). Back to text
46 Georges de Maleville, Armyanskaya tragedia 1915 goda, Baku, 1990, p. 46. Back to text
47 Report of General L.M. Bolkhovitinov to His Excellency Military Assistant to the Viceroy of His Imperial Majesty in the Caucasus. 11.12.1915, RGVIA, rec. gr. 2100, inv. 1, f. 646, sheet 74 (in Russian). Back to text
48 See: Decision of the Special Investigative Commission. 28.07.1919, State Archives of the Azerbaijan Republic (GA AR), rec. gr. 1061, inv. 1, f. 108, sheet 7 (in Russian). Back to text
49 See: On Setting Up a Special Propaganda Department at the Foreign Ministry of the Azerbaijan Republic, GA AR, rec. gr. 970, inv. 1, f. 216, sheet 1 (in Russian). Back to text
50 See: Verbatim Report No. 3 of the Sitting of the Azeri National Council. 29.05.1918, GA AR, rec. gr. 970, inv. 1, f. 1, sheet 51 (in Russian). Back to text
51 See: Verbatim Report No. 3 of the Sitting of the Azeri National Council. 01.06.1918, GA AR, rec. gr. 970, inv. 1, f. 1, sheet 53 (in Russian). Back to text
52 See: APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 276, inv. 9, f. 1, sheet 47; Z. Avalov, Nezavisimost Gruzii v mezhdunarodnoy politike 1918-1921, Paris, 1924, p. 57. Back to text
53 Telegram of Chairman of the Council of Ministers F.K. Khoyski to Head of the Azeri Delegation in Istanbul M.E. Rasulzade. 31.07.1918, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 277, inv. 2, f. 7, sheet 37 (in Russian). Back to text
54 Letter of A. Jamalyan to the Foreign Ministry of Armenia. 08.10.1918, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 276, inv. 9, f. 65, sheet 18 (in Russian). Back to text
55 For more detail on the destabilizing actions of Armenia in Karabakh in 1918-1920, see: J. Hasanli, Vneshniaia politika Azerbaidzhanskoy Demokraticheskoy Respubliki (1918-1920 gg.), Moscow, 2010, 576 pp. Back to text
56 Le Lieutenant-Colonel Chardigny, Chef de la Mission Militaire Français au Caucase, à Monsieur le Ministre de la Guerre (Etat-Major de l’Armée, 2°Bureau). Le 15 avril 1919, Ministère des Affaires Étrangères de France, Archives Diplomatique, Vol. 832, folio 55. Back to text
57 Letter of A. Jamalyan to the Foreign Ministry of Armenia. 28.09.1918, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 276, inv. 9, f. 65, sheet 15 (in Russian). Back to text
58 See: Le Lieutenant-Colonel Chardigny, Chef de la Mission Militaire Français au Caucase, à Monsieur le Ministre de la Guerre (Etat-Major de l’Armée, 2°Bureau). Le 15 avril 1919, Ministère des Affaires Étrangères de France, Archives Diplomatique, Vol. 832, folio 55. Back to text
59 For more detail, see: A.H. Arslanian, “Britain and the Question of Mountainous Karabagh,” Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 16, No. 1, January 1980, pp. 92-104. Back to text
60 T. Swietochowski, Russian Azerbaijan, 1905-1920: The Shaping of National Identity in a Muslim Community,Cambridge, 1985, p. 143; A.H. Arslanian, op. cit., pp. 93-94. Back to text
61 Azerbaijan, 3 December, 1918. Back to text
62 Scotland-Liddell, “Voyna s musulmanami. Armiane vnov pereshli v nastuplenie. 30.01.1920 g.,” GA AR, rec. gr. 894, inv. 10, f. 81, sheets 9-10 (in Russian). Back to text
63 See: Vremennoe soglashenie armian Nagornogo Karabakha s Azerbaijanskim pravitelstvom. Prilozhenie No. 8. 15.08.1919, Archives d’Ali Mardan-bey Toptchibachi, carton n° 2/1. Le Centre d’études des mondes russe, caucasien et centre-européen (CERCEC), l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS, Paris), pp. 34-35. Back to text
64 Letter of Chairman of the delegation of the Azerbaijan Republic at the Paris Peace Conference A.M. Toptchibachi to the Chairman of the Peace Conference. 09.09.1919, GA AR, rec. gr. 970, inv. 1, f. 142, sheet 77 (in Russian). Back to text
65 See: Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, The Paris Peace Conference. 1919, Vol. IX, US Government Printing Office, Washington, 1946, p. 959; Bulletin d’Information de l’Azerbaidjan, Paris, 17 Janvier 1920, No. 7, p. 1. Back to text
66 See: A.H. Arslanian, op. cit., p. 100. Back to text
67 Telegramme a chiffrer № 28-29. Haut Commissaire Français Constantinople Pour Diplomatie Communiquer Amiral. Le 28 avril 1919. Ministère des Affaires Étrangères de France (MAE)? Archives Diplomatique, Correspondance politique et commerciale, 1914-1940 Serie “Z” Europe 1918-1940 Sous-Serie USSR Russie-Caucase (Azerbaidjan) Direction des Affaires Politiques et Commerciales 1 avril 1920-31 decembre 1929, Vol. 639, folio 12. Back to text
68 See: Report of Military Commissar of the Javanshir Uezd Romaushkin to the Military Commissar of the Ganja Gubernia. 13.02.1921, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 169, f. 249/II, sheet 21 (in Russian). Back to text
69 See: Pravda o Nagornom Karabakhe, Stepanakert, 1989, pp. 27, 30-31. Back to text
70 For more detail, see: “Results of Soviet Construction in Azerbaijan,” Report of N. Narimanov to V. Lenin. 15.09.1921, Russian State Archives of Social-Political History (RGASPI), rec. gr. 5, inv. 1, f. 1219, sheet 12; Letter of N. Narimanov to V. Lenin, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 609, inv. 1, f. 71, sheet 51; Letter of B. Shakhtakhtinsky to V. Lenin. 20.09.1920, Foreign Policy Archives of the Russian Federation (AVP RF), rec. gr. 1, inv. 51, Folder 321a, f. 54859, sheets 6-7 (all in Russian). Back to text
71 See: The Kommunist newspaper, 1 May, 1920. Back to text
72 See: I. Musaev, Political Situation in Nakhchivan and Zangezur Regions of Azerbaijan and Politics of Foreign Countries (1917-1921), Baku, 1996 (in Azeri). Back to text
73 Direction des Affaires politiques et commerciales. Service des Affaires Russes. Le 4 mai 1920, Ministère des Affaires Étrangères de France, Archives Diplomatique, Vol. 639, folio 24. Back to text
74 Monsieur de Martel Commissaire français au Caucase à Son Excellence Monsieur Millerand, Président du Conseil, Ministre des Affaires Étrangères. Le 24 mai 1920, Ministère des Affaires Étrangères de France, Archives Diplomatique, Vol. 639, folio 78. Back to text
75 Telegram of S. Kirov to G. Chicherin. 29.06.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 5, inv. 1, f. 2178, sheet 1 (in Russian).Back to text
76 Telegram of N. Narimanov, M. Mdivani, A. Mikoyan, A. Nurijanyan to G. Chicherin. 19.06. 1920, GA AR, rec. gr. 28, inv. 1, f. 211, sheet 115 (in Russian). Back to text
77 See: Bolshevistskoe rukovodstvo. Perepiska. 1912-1917, Collection of documents, Moscow, 1996, pp. 134-135. Back to text
78 See: G. Chicherin’s reply to Lenin’s enquiry. June 1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 2, inv. 1, f. 1451, sheet 2 (in Russian). Back to text
79 See: Agence Consulaire de France à Bakou “Situation actuelle de l’Azerbaidjan.” Le 27 juillet 1920, Ministère des Affaires Étrangères de France, Archives Diplomatique, Vol. 639, folio 150. Back to text
80 Letter of the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs G. Chicherin to the Politburo of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.). 22.06. 1920, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 1, f. 2a, sheet 9 (in Russian). Back to text
81 G. Chicherin’s reply to Lenin’s enquiry. June 1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 2, inv. 1, f. 1451, sheet 1 (in Russian).Back to text
82 Narimanov’ letter to Lenin. 1920, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 609, inv. 1, f. 71, sheet 41 (in Russian). Back to text
83 Letter of Narimanov, Mdivani, Mikoyan, Naneishvili, Vesnik, Levandovsky and Mikhaylov to the C.C. R.C.P. (B.). 10.07.1920, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 44, f. 118, sheet 25 (in Russian). Back to text
84 Ibid., sheet 27. Back to text
85 See: G. Chicherin’s information to Beknazyan, Oganesyan and Kirov by direct line. 29.06.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 21, sheet 8 (in Russian). Back to text
86 See: G. Chicherin’s telegram to Orjonikidze. 02.07.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 85, inv. 3c, f. 2, sheet 3 (in Russian). Back to text
87 G. Chicherin’s ciphered telegram to G. Orjonikidze. 02.07.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 85, inv. 3c, f. 2, sheet 3 (in Russian). Back to text
88 G. Orjonikidze’s reply on direct line to G. Chicherin’s telegram of 2 July about the disputed territories claimed by Azerbaijan and Armenia. July 1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 85, inv. 3c, f. 2, sheet 6 (in Russian). Back to text
89 Direct reminder to Lenin, Stalin and Chicherin. July 1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 85, inv. 3c, f. 2, sheets 8-9 (in Russian). Back to text
90 See: Telegram from G. Orjonikidze to G. Chicherin. 1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 17, sheet 53 (in Russian). Back to text
91 Direct note to N. Allilueva. 07.07.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 85, inv. 3c, f. 2, sheet 20 (in Russian). Back to text
92 Telegram from G. Chicherin to G. Orjonikidze. 08.07.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 17, sheet 60 (in Russian). Back to text
93 Telegram from G. Orjonikidze to V.I. Lenin, I.V. Stalin and G.K. Chicherin. 16.07.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 85, inv. 3c, f. 2, sheet 12 (in Russian). Back to text
94 Telegram of A. Mikoyan to G. Orjonikidze. 29.06.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 17, sheet 134 (in Russian). Back to text
95 Ciphered telegram of G. Orjonikidze and S. Kirov to V. Lenin and I. Stalin. 12.06.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 85, inv. 2c, f. 2, sheets 9-11 (in Russian). Back to text
96 Telegram from G. Orjonikidze to G. Chicherin. 1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 17, sheet 304 (in Russian). Back to text
97 Telegram from G. Chicherin to B. Legran. 19.07 1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 21, sheet 13 (in Russian). Back to text
98 See: Telegram of G. Chicherin to Ogandjanyan. 19.07.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 21, sheet 12 (in Russian). Back to text
99 Telegram of S. Kirov to B. Legran. 23.07.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 21, sheet 20 (in Russian). Back to text
100 See: Letter of S. Kirov to G. Chicherin. 06.08.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 80, inv. 4, f. 102, sheets 1-2 (in Russian). Back to text
101 Telegram of G. Chicherin to B. Legran. 20.07.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 21, sheet 14 (in Russian).Back to text
102 Letter of N. Narimanov to B. Shakhtakhtinsky. August 1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 85, inv. 2c, f. 3, sheet 59 (in Russian). Back to text
103 See: Treaty between the R.S.F.S.R. and the Republic of Armenia. 10.08.1920, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 169, f. 249/II, sheets 11-12 (in Russian). Back to text
104 See: Extract from Verbatim Report No. 24 of the sitting of Politburo C.C. R.C.P. (B.). 30.06.1920, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 1, f. 2a, sheet 10 (in Russian). Back to text
105 See: On the Importance of Armenia and the Conditions under which Soviet Power can be Strengthened there. 20.07. 1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 17, inv. 84, f. 183, sheet 8 (in Russian). Back to text
106 Ibid., sheets 8-8rev. Back to text
107 Telegram from G. Orjonikidze to V.I. Lenin and G. Chicherin. 19.06.1920, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 169, f. 249/I, sheet 34 (in Russian). Back to text
108 Telegram of Oganjanayan to Commissar for Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Huseynov. 23.08.1920, GA AR, rec. gr. 28, inv. 1, f. 104, sheet 2 (in Russian). Back to text
109 See: N. Narimanov, Azerbaijan and Armenia. August 1920, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 609, inv. 1, f. 21, sheet 40 (in Russian). Back to text
110 Telegram of L. Karakhan to the Foreign Minister of Armenia. 15.05.1920, GA AR, rec. gr. 28, inv. 1, f. 99, sheet 100 (in Russian). Back to text
111 Copy of a memo to V.I. Lenin. 29.06.1920, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 1, f. 2a, sheets 13-14 (in Russian).Back to text
112 Instruction to the Revolutionary Military Council of the Caucasian Front. 04.07.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 17, inv. 3, f. 94, sheet 7 (in Russian). Back to text
113 See: Description of the Border of the Undisputed Territory of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic with Armenia, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 169, f. 249/II, sheets 15-16 (in Russian). Back to text
114 See: Information of N.I. Soloviev to V.I. Lenin “Our Policy in Azerbaijan in Two Months (May-June) after the Coup. 1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 17, inv. 84, f. 58, sheet 15 (in Russian). Back to text
115 See: Report on the Economic and Political Situation in Azerbaijan, RGASPI, rec. gr. 17, inv. 86, f. 119, sheet 2 (in Russian). Back to text
116 Letter of Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Azerbaijan B. Shakhtakhtinsky to V.I. Lenin. 13.08.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 5, inv. 1, f. 2796, sheet 1rev. (in Russian). Back to text
117 Report of M.D. Huseynov to N. Krestinsky On the Situation in Azerbaijan. 16.09.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 17, inv. 86, f. 125, sheet 10 (in Russian). Back to text
118 R. Mustafa-zade, op. cit., p. 267. Back to text
119 Letter of N. Narimanov to V.I. Lenin, July 1920, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 609, inv. 1, f. 71, sheets 41-42 (in Russian). Back to text
120 For the letter of Narimanov to Lenin, see: N. Narimanov, K istorii nashey revolutsii v okrainakh (Letter to I.V. Stalin), Baku, 1990, p. 117. Back to text
121 Lander’s telegram to Krestinsky, Menzhinsky, Dzerzhinsky and Lenin. 19.07.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 17, inv. 86, f. 125, sheet 12 (in Russian). Back to text
122 See: Verbatim report of a meeting of Politburo C.C. Az.C.P. (B.). 26.08.1920, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 1, f. 22, sheet 2rev. (for more detail, see: Personal file of Aliheydar Shirvani, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 12, inv. 1, f. 7523, sheet 29, both in Russian). Back to text
123 See: Verbatim report of a meeting of Organizational Bureau C.C. Az.C.P. (B.). 26.08.1920, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 1, f. 21, sheet 9 (in Russian). Back to text
124 Report of S. Atatev to C.C. Az.C.P. (B.), APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 1, f. 141, sheet 24rev. (in Russian).Back to text
125 Ibid., sheet 26rev. Back to text
126 Urgent telegram of G. Chicherin to N. Narimanov. 20.07.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 5, inv. 1, f. 2097, sheet 1 (in Russian). Back to text
127 Letter of G. Chicherin to the Politburo of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.), APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 04, inv. 39, Folder 232, f. 52987, sheet 40 (in Russian). Back to text
128 See: R. Mustafa-zade, op. cit., p. 145. Back to text
129 See: Verbatim report of a sitting of the Presidium of the Caucasian Bureau of the CC RCP (B.). 15.10.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 1, sheet 30rev. (in Russian). Back to text
130 N. Narimanov, op. cit., p. 118. Back to text
131 See: B. Legran’s telegram to V.I. Lenin, RGASPI, rec. gr. 5, inv. 1, f. 21, sheet 144 (in Russian). Back to text
132 Secret telegram of B. Legran to G. Chicherin, RGASPI, rec. gr. 5, inv. 1, f. 2178, sheet 20 (in Russian). Back to text

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