COMMUNIST REGIME IN NORTH AZERBAIJAN
(April 28, 1920-October 18, 1991)
THE PERIOD OF DIFFICULT TESTS (1920-1969)
The establishment of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan was declared on April 28, 1920. The whole control over the country was transferred to the Temporary Revolutionary Committee and the Council of National Commissars of the ASSR. N.Narimanov was appointed the head of the Council. Beware of the national revolt the occupants included only Azerbaijanis into the Temporary Revolutionary Committee and the Council of National Commissars. Yet this process was a formal one and in fact, the real government was already established in February of 1920 and was concentrated on the Communist Party of Azerbaijan which acted conjointly with occupants.
The Communist Party of Azerbaijan was an integral part of the Communist Party of Russia and reported directly to Moscow. In fact, the activity of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan was fully controlled by A.I.Mikoyan. The leadership of the party was also composed of Armenians, Georgians and Russians. Therefore the Armenians and other nations played a great role in the destruction of the state structures of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic as in case of all previous genocides, including the bloodshed of March 1918 and the intervention of April 28, 1920.
The Revolutionary committees were established in all the regions of the country and they were invested with quite expanded powers for the destruction of the state structures of the republic. Bolsheviks tried to create hostility and partition among the population of the country and caused a clash between different strata of society. They propagandized their activity as if aiming to create the government of farmers opposite to that of exploiters to get the support of the population.
Yet the external propaganda and real actions did not coincide at all. In fact, everything was done for establishment if the bloody communist dictatorship that aimed to destroy the state system establishment and the national independent consciousness of the people. Local revolutionary committees also acted for the purpose.
For that very purpose, the Bolsheviks created new power structures in place of the destroyed national state structures in the centre and at the local levels. The first step undertaken in this sphere was the establishment of the farmers' militia (the red militia) after the destruction of the former police. Extraordinary Commission and the Supreme Revolutionary Tribunal started operating along with the Red Militia.
The Extraordinary Commission and the Supreme Revolutionary Tribunal had unlimited extraordinary powers. Their resolutions were executed immediately. Both two structure, screened by the struggle against the counterrevolution and diversion started the termination of the leading people, especially the intelligentsia of the country, that was the carriers of the national self-consciousness and the traditions of state system establishment.
The red terror raised in all the regions of the country, everyone able to resist the consolidation of the Bolshevic regime was immediately terminated by the red terror as the enemy of the people, counterrevolutionist and saboteur.
Thus, the new genocide of the Azerbaijani people after that of March 1918 was initiated. The difference was that the second genocide targeted the prominent state officials of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan, generals, military officers of the National Army and famous scientists, leading intellectuals, religious workers, party leaders, politicians. At that period the Bolshevic-Dashnak terror removed the elite of national society purposely in order to leave them without control. This bloodshed was, in fact, more horrific than that of March 1918. It should be noted that all these mass carnages were committed by the Supreme Military Tribunal, Extraordinary Commission, red militia and the special department of the eleventh Red Army and the Communist Party of Azerbaijan without permission of the Temporary Revolutionary Committee of Azerbaijan. All these bodies were headed by Russian, Armenian and Georgian despots.
The bloodshed that targeted the leading sons of Azerbaijan were committed by the instruction of such bolshevik-dashnak executors as Ordjonikidze, Kirov, Mikoyab, Sarkis, Mirzoyan, Lominadze, Yegorov and others. Armenians that strengthened their positions in all the state structures of the country played a special role in the commitment of the Red Terror. Participating in the power bodies of the country they executed Azerbaijanis by shooting without investigations or trials. On the whole, nearly 50 thousand leading people of Azerbaijan were shot within a year since April 28, 1920, and the nation was deprived of its elite.
During the occupation and Red terror, Bolshevic and dashnak executers confiscated the property of those shot and not satisfied with that robbed the whole population and even the indigent and took away even the family jewels and valuable things of the people. Russians, Armenians and representatives of other nations were moved to the emptied flat of Azerbaijan The population was inflicted reprisals.
The armed forces of the country were immediately transferred under the control of the Red Army of Moscow under the shelter of the restoration of the Army and Marines. The people were deprived of their Army. Thus the independence of Azerbaijan was, in fact, destroyed.
The Bolshevic regime also tried to influence the national self-consciousness for suppressing the ideas of the national dignity and the traditions of independent state system establishment. Once the state language the Azerbaijani language was brought to bay and the training of national specialists was reduced to the minimum level. The government launched the policy of russification. The classes, class, religious and civil privileges were eliminated and the usage of such words as "bey", "khan", "agha" was prohibited. The religion was separated from the state and education. The fulfilment of religious ceremonies and lessons of shariate were abolished in the secondary schools. Religious schools were shut down. The ancient architectural memorials -mosques, minarets-were ruined. The period of attacks to the self-consciousness and national culture of Azerbaijanis started.
One of the principal parts of the tyranny state system was the establishment of the committee, consisting only of the poor people in the regions. These committees had to become the support of bolsheviks, to deteriorate the counteraction in villages and to help the government to remove counterrevolutionists from Azeri villages.
Soon the revolutionary and poor committees were replaced by the councils. The socialization of North Azerbaijan was completed with the session of the first councils of the Azerbaijan SSR on May 6, 1921. The first Constitution of the Azerbaijan SSR was adopted on May 19. Though stipulating for wide rights for the citizens, the constitution that took after that of RSFSR was of formal nature as the activity of the councils was regulated by the Communist Party of Azerbaijan, instructed by the Russian Party of Moscow. Moreover, the activity of all political parties operating in the country was suspended. Thus the dictatorship of the proletariat, in fact, turned to that of the party. Besides, the deprivation of the right of the country's intellectuals to be elected to the councils, under the shelter of the establishment of the reign of farmers, turned to the instrument of governing for the Communist Party and Moscow.
Thus within a year after the occupation bolsheviks formed the state bodies as if based on the constitution and established the state socialist democracy in North Azerbaijan through the implementation of aggressive measures. In fact, the newly established democracy was a formal and a false one and was in the most real sense the dictatorship of communism compared with the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan and its Parliament.
Yet the dictatorship depended on the one of Moscow. Therefore, the overthrow of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan that was a leading and secular state system standing on the similar level with other democratic republics and was one of the most worthy achievements of the nation became the hardest tragedy of the Azerbaijani people.
After the abolition of the independent state of Azerbaijani people, its national wealth was misappropriated. The special property on lands was eliminated. The whole natural wealth of the country was nationalized in other words was transferred to the state. The Oil Committee of Azerbaijan was created for controlling the oil industry and it was headed by A.P.Serebrovsky, sent to Baku by V.I.Lenin. Thus, V.Lenin achieved his aim stated in the telegram sent to the Military-Revolutionary Council of the Caucasus front on March 17, 1920, as follows "The control over Baku is too important for us." The Baku oil was used by Soviet Russia.
The Caspian Trade Fleet, banks, operating in the country, fish industry and another field of the economy were nationalized following the oil industry. Nationalization stroked a hard blow to the economy of Northern Azerbaijan, developing with increased speed in late XIX-early XX centuries. People's deprivation of property law caused weakening of national independence consciousness. Industry and economy were mainly focused in hands of Russians, Armenians, Jews and representatives of other nations. Resources of Azerbaijan, particularly Baku oil began to be transported to Russia. Soviet Russia overcame fuel crisis. Northern Azerbaijan became a fuel and raw material source of Russia. Besides, occupation troop, stifled Northern Azerbaijan in blood, was kept at the expense of Azerbaijan people as well.
N.Narimanov and his followers, protecting native people in the condition of mass carnages and plundering, were branded as "nationalists" and removed from the management of the country in fact. Armenian-Russian-Georgian leadership, predetermining the fate of the country, did not trust "Moslems with musavat ideas", even tried to abolish formal independence of Azerbaijan and include it into the RSFSR. But N.Narimanov managed to prevent their terrible plan. Bolshevik-Dashnak group succeeded in sent N.Narimanov away of Azerbaijan in response.
Nevertheless, occupiers could not break down Azerbaijan people's resistance easily. Armed rebellion against the Bolshevik regime took place in Ganja on May 25-26, 1920. Ganja rebels, active members of the former National Army, defeated elements of the XI Red Army repeatedly. New divisions were brought into the town. Armenians, living in Gandja and adjacent territories, joined occupiers. Rebels sacrifice thousands of people in hard battles for every street, every house. Occupiers managed to take Gandja under control on May 31. The city was subjected to terrible genocide and plundering by occupiers and Dashnak gangsters.
Occupiers met with stubborn resistance in Karabakh after Gandja rebellion in early June. Armenian-Dashnak gangsters actively helped occupiers and organized carnage of civil Azerbaijanis.
Zagatala population began life and death fight against occupiers on June 6. The rebels got Zagatala fortress. Gakh was captured. The whole region rebelled. The rebels defeated divisions of the XI Red Army, brought into the region. By the XI Red Army, strengthened with additional forces, managed to take Zagatala under control eventually on June 18.
Strong resistance was shown to occupiers in Shamkir, Guba, Davachi, Gusar, Lankaran, Astara, Kurdistan, Javanshir, Gurgashin, Khachmaz, Nakhichevan, Ordubad, Sharur and other places following Ganja, Karabakh, Zagatala. Even women and children took part in the battles against the occupier XI Red Army in Shamkir.
The stubborn resistance of the whole country testified that depriving Azerbaijan people of independence ideas and statehood traditions was not easy.
Soviet government, seized with fear about the strengthening of the resistance movement, brought new divisions into Azerbaijan. More terrible tragedies were waiting for Azerbaijan in future.
The hardest crime, committed by Bolshevik regime against Azerbaijan people at that time, was rendering help to Armenians in their occupation policy. Bolshevik Russia continued the policy upon the formation of Armenian state at the expense of Azerbaijan territories as Soviet Russia and made any intrigue to separate Azerbaijan from Turkey.
Armenians managed to take Iravan away from Azerbaijan and declared its capital, began new aggressions during the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. Dashnaks attempted to occupy Nakhichevan, Zangazur, Sharur-Daralayaz and Nagorny Karabakh.
Dashnak gangsters, supporting by Bolsheviks, committed bloody carnages, reduced thousands of villages to ruins. Hundred thousands of Azerbaijanis were exiled from native lands. Armenians sought whole Western Azerbaijan instead of Bolshevik power's recognition. This deal was profitable for Bolshevik occupiers.
But this criminal policy caused strong protest most of all in Nakhichevan. Dashnaks could not occupy Nakhichevan thanks to people's resistance and the help of Turkey.
Bolsheviks gave Sharur-Daralayaz to Armenians under the agreement, signed with them on August 10, 1920, without participation and consent of Azerbaijan. This tempted Dashnaks still more and struggle for Nakhichevan and Karabakh inflamed.
Armenians proceeded to the occupation of Zangazur with support of the XI Red Army after getting Sharur-Daralayaz. Southwestern Zangazur (Mehri) was annexed to Armenia and communication between main territories of Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan was severed.
Mehrinin işğalı nəticəsində Ermənistan, həm də, özü üçün İrana dəhliz açmış oldu. Daşnakların İranla maneəsiz əlaqə saxlamaları üçün əlverişli şərait yarandı.
Armenia opened a corridor to Iran in the result of the occupation of Mehri. The favourable condition was created for Dashnaks' communication with Iran.
At the same time, Armenians achieved the decision on annexing of Nagorny Karabakh to Armenia under pressure of Ordjonikidze and Kirov, the executioner of Azerbaijan people, at the plenary session of the Caucasia bureau on July 4, 1921. But this decision was annulled in the result of stubborn resistance and demand of Narimanov. The Caucasia bureau had to take a new decision on the next day - July 5. Nagorny Karabakh was remained as a part of Azerbaijan with capital Shusha and given wide regional autonomy. Though Armenians could not achieve their purposes concerning Nagorny Karabakh, they strengthen their position in this region of Azerbaijan.
Nevertheless, Plans of Armenians and Bolsheviks upon Nakhichevan failed. Nakhichevan was given autonomy under the protection of Azerbaijan under the Moscow agreement (March 16, 1921), signed between the RSFSR and Turkey in the result of a decisive position of Turkey. According to the agreement Nakhichevan did not have the right to yield its status to the third state. Gars agreement (October 13, 1921), signed between Turkey and Southern Caucasia republics in summer, confirmed it once more. Thus, Bolsheviks could not give Nakhichevan, called "Turkish gates" by Ataturk, and it remained as a part of Azerbaijan forever.
It should be noted that Bolsheviks used different means to take Islam East under the influence of Soviet Russia. They declared that Azerbaijan would turn into "blooming soviet socialist republic" at the gate of the East. But Eastern states, soon understood the essence of Bolsheviks' policy in Azerbaijan, did not succumb to deception of Soviet Russia. Therefore the formal independence of Azerbaijan has put an end. Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia were unified in the unit Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Armenian-Georgian leadership of the TSFSR gained favourable condition to direct economic potential of Azerbaijan, owning rich natural resources and more developed economy, to the development of Armenia and Georgia.
Thus, national and religious discrimination policy against Azerbaijan people in The Southern Caucasus legalized. The formal independence of the country was definitively put an end with annexing of the ZSFSR to the USSR on December 30, 1922. Process of plundering of Azerbaijan resources began in wide-scale.
National colonization policy strengthened and became more merciless in 1920-1030s. Azerbaijan economy was made completely dependent on the centre in the result of industrialization and compulsory collectivization. Economic policy, carried out by the centre was directed to depriving Azerbaijan of economic independence. The main purpose of this policy was to turn the republic into the raw material source and auxiliary production province.
Attacks to national-spiritual values of the people increased. Training of national personnel was preventing with different artificial hinders, any condition for the flow of Russians, Armenians, Jews and other nations was created, they were provided with proper jobs and flats in the best parts of the capital.
Russification and Armenification policy were carried out. This policy speedily developed in Baku propagated as "International" city. Russian language ousted Azerbaijan language and became the official language.
Distribution of Azerbaijan territories to neighbours was continued. Azerbaijan Central Executive Committee declared the establishment of Nagorny Karabakh Autonomy Republic (NKAR) under pressure of Ordjonikidze and Kirov, backed by Stalin, on June 7, 1923. Finally, the plenary session of the South Caucasus State Committee of the Russian Communist Party confirmed resolution on Nagorny Karabakh of June 5, 1921, of the Caucasus Bureau of the Russian Communist Party on June 27, 1923. Armenians and their Moscow supporters prepared the foundation for new territorial claims against Azerbaijan.
Armenians' ruses related to Nakhichevan, the legal status of which was decided to the good of Azerbaijan thanks to Turkey, failed. The Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic was established within Azerbaijan on February 9, 1924. Nevertheless, Bolsheviks continued the policy of territorial expansion of the Armenian SSR at the expense of Azerbaijan lands and 3 villages of Zangilan region were given to Armenia in 1929. At the same time, Georgians seized Azerbaijan lands on the bank of the River Ganikh (Alazan).
Collectivization, taking people's property away, the abolishment of kulak strata, carried out since late 1920, exasperated people. The country was enveloped in the resistance movement. New rebellions began in Shaki, Zagatala, Nakhichevan, Khizi, Shamkir, Jabrayil and other places.
The strong rebellion began in Bash Goynuk village, Shaki region, in 1930. The residents of Bash Goybuk, overturned soviet power in their village, attacked Shaki. The residents of Shaki joined them and power transmitted to rebels. Neighbour Zayzid village stirred up a rebellion and came to help Shaki. Divisions of the Red Army were brought into the town. Despite stubborn resistance, divisions of the regular army strengthened with new forces, captured Shaki. The population was subject to mass shooting day by day. Armenians rushed into the Central Committee, took an active part in this bloody carnage. Hard measures were taken against Goynuk rebels. They were shot right in front of the population without any investigation or court and were buried in the ditches, dug by their own. Thus, Armenians revenged upon the Goybuk residents, who hindered Dashnaks in 1918. Afterwards, these mass burial places and the grave of Turk Ahmad, one of the leaders, turned into places for pilgrimage. Bolshevik regime noted strengthening of the resistance movement and national awakening, carried out terrible repressions in Azerbaijan in the 1930s. Armenian Dashnak gangsters, come to power in Azerbaijan, began to clean the country off Azerbaijan Turks. Armenians themselves were the main executors of the "cleaning" operation.
Central and regional structures of the KGB (State Security Committee) and People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs were in Armenians' hand. Armenians were at the head in more than half of the regional structures of the PCIA. In this point of view, Bolsheviks continued the historical tradition of Russia and annihilated Azerbaijanis by Armenians' hands, but applied new tactics in the new condition.
Tens of thousands of Azerbaijanis were shot and exiled in the result of false investigations under the name of "criminal cases", "courts", "exposures of public enemies". 29 thousand worthy persons were subject to repression only At that period Azerbaijan lost such rare intellectuals and thinkers as Guseyn Djavid, Mikail Mushfig, Ahmed Djavad, Salman Mumtaz, Ali Nazmi, Taghy Shahbazi and others. The intellectual potential of people and their prominent persons were terminated. Azerbaijani people could not recover for years from this hard blow.
Armenian-Dashnak group, that headed Baku government and leadership of Armenian party acted conjointly. Like once Shaumyan and Andranok did! Armenian-Dashnak regime, backed by Stalin and Beriya and doing everything wished in Azerbaijan, returned our South Azerbaijan compatriots, residing in Baku and in North Azerbaijan to Iran.
As a result of these cruel actions, our compatriots that found refuge in North Azerbaijan to escape from the cruelties of the shah regime again became subject to persecution by the Iranian shah regime. Thus, Russian colonialists, Armenians and Iranian reaction acted conjointly against the people of Azerbaijan like in previous years. The actions aimed to establish North Azerbaijan without Azerbaijanis and later to return its lands to RSFSR. Surely, a share for dashnaks and Georgian nationalists had also been stipulated!
The repressions of 1937-1938 stroke a hard blow
to the science and culture of Azerbaijan. Through that
period over 50 thousand people were executed by shooting
and over 100 thousand were sent to Siberia and Kazakhstan.
Such prominent people as Huseyn Javid, Mikail Mushfig,
Taghy Shahbazi, Salman Mumtaz was terminated.
Everything determining the national and moral wealth of the people was destroyed under the shelter of the establishment of culture "National in form and socialist by content". The transfer to the Cyrillic alphabet stroke one more blow to Azerbaijan in 1939. The people which was gradually used to the Latin alphabet that replaced the old one had to transfer to a new alphabet that meant the artificial separation of people from the national and moral wealth, reflecting its historical past. At the same time, that was again discrimination policy conducted against Azerbaijan and other Turkish-Islam people. By the way, the alphabets of Azerbaijan's neighbour country remained unchanged. The national moral values of the people were also destroyed along with mass bloodshed and repressions. The people were deprived of their roots and national and moral traditions through brands pan-Turkism and pan-Islamism. Cultural attacks against the national moral values of the people that were declared the remnants of the past such as tar and kamancha were conducted in all the regions of the country, the Society of Godless operated at that time for fighting against religion.
In the period of repressions of the 1920s-1930s the most prominent sons of Azerbaijani people had to leave the country and run abroad to escape from the KGB prisons. Most of them continued the struggle for the independence of native Azerbaijan which turned to the prison of Bolshevic-Dashnaks. The National Center of Azerbaijan headed by M.E.Rasulzade played an important role in the unification of the struggle of political migrants to a single trend.
Yet neither Bolsheviks nor Armenian-Georgian nationalists that conducted the policy of Bolsheviks on the South Caucasus could destroy ancient and rich traditions of state system establishment through cruel repressive measures and bloodshed. The democratic ideas and the habit to rule rather than to be ruled still lived in the hearts of Azerbaijani people. Azerbaijani people managed to survive even more cruel and bloody ordeals more than once. Azerbaijan, the father of Javids, Mushfigs, Ahmed Javads, did not die. It will again make its presence felt.
The oil of Baku played a decisive role in the USSR's victory in the Great Patriotic War. The plans of Armenian-Dashnaks that settled in the Kremlin under the leadership of A.I.Mikoyan and tried to drive Azerbaijanis away from their houses did not come true. World War Second proved Azerbaijan people to be a heroic nation that managed to overcome hard ordeals and win the battle. The self-conscience of the people that was much hurt in a period of repressions was restored again. The hard Soviet regime and the period of persecutions conducted by the communist dictatorship did not manage to suppress creative genius and the creative talent of the people. Soon Azerbaijan became leading among all the states of USSR. A new rise occurred in the oil industry of Azerbaijan that supplied USSR with fuel. Baku turned to the oil academy of the USSR. A great number of new industrial enterprises and electric stations started operating, roads, canals and bridges were constructed at that time. Industry, agriculture and culture started to develop rapidly. The mass illiteracy came to its end. Secondary schools, research institutes, public health and culture and education centres were established in the country. On the eve of the World War Second Azerbaijan accounted for 16 high schools, 18 theatres. The establishment of the affiliate of the Academy of Sciences in 1938 was a significant event in the scientific life of Azerbaijan. The rise was registered in culture as well. In the period of the World War Second, Azerbaijani people showed great courage in the battles against fascism in the rear and in the anti-fascist movements of different European countries. At that time over 170 of 600 people taken to the military service were awarded orders, 130 people have attached to the title of the hero of the Soviet Union. During the war, Azerbaijan started the production of high-antiknock fuel on the basis of a new technology worked out by academician Yusif Mamedaliyev.
The Second World War clearly demonstrated
the ability of Azerbaijani people to overcome all
barriers blamelessly and to display unrivalled
courage and valour.
Repressions targeting Azeri people continued after the Second World War. The National government established in south Azerbaijan was cruelly overthrown by the Iranian shah regime (December 12, 1945-June 14, 1946). All democratic reforms conducted by the National Government of Azerbaijan were annulled.
Significant progress was registered in different spheres of industry and agriculture within the first five years following the war. New steps were taken for the development of culture. Baku oil played a great role in the development and rehabilitation of USSR economics. Owing to Azeri specialists oil fields were discovered and put to operation in Tatarstan, Bashkiria, Tumen and other regions. Representatives of Azerbaijani people took an active part in the restoration and development of the economics of the Soviet Union. The new stage of driving Azerbaijanis out from their historical land West Azerbaijan (called Armenia SSR) started again in 1948-1953. Armenian nationalists encouraged by Stalin, Beriya and Mikoyan, governing from the Kremlin, again inflicted reprisal to Azerbaijani people and strengthened their position in West Azerbaijan. They dominated these lands.