Karabakh in Soviet period

Division of Karabakh by Soviet government

With the strengthening of Soviet government the process of restoration of the tsarist Russian border began. The 11th Red Army concentrated its forces on northern borders of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and received several orders and decrees for the occupation of Azerbaijan. The powers which supported the Soviet state within the Azerbaijan Parliament and the March revolt of Armenian Dashnak separatists in Karabakh accelerated the overthrow of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic existed for 23 months and was overthrown by the 11th Red Army and the Soviet government was established in the Northern Azerbaijan. Thus, the situation around Karabakh entered a new stage.

The Status of the Autonomous Republic attached to Daghlig Garabagh in 1920-1923

Daghlig Garabagh: geography and the concept of Daghlig Garabagh. For lightning this problem let's first stay on the geography of Daghlig Garabagh and the concept "Daghlig Garabagh.

The territory of Karabakh is divided into plains and mountainous areas for its landscape. This is a scientifically approved fact. Thus, A.M.Skibitski, the son of the famous Caucasus scientist M.A.Skibitski in his artcle entitled "The Caucasus revolt" said: "The mountainous region of Karabakh Khanate was once called Daghlig Garabagh. It comprised of an area between the Karabakh mountains on the east and the Zangezur mountains on the west, as well as the Karabakh plateau, separating Daghlig Garabagh from plain Lower Karabakh". As seen, due to the fact that the lands of the Karabakh khanate as part of Tsarist Russia were subject to to different administrative divisions, the concept of Karabakh had lost its original administrative-political meaning. However, in periods of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (1918-1920) the concept of Karabakh acquired its initial definition. As seen from the foregoing viewpoint of S.Shaduns, the term of Daghlig Garabagh was established by Dashnaks at that very time.

Since that time the concept of "Daghlig Garabagh" acquired not only geographical but also political importance. With the establishment of the Bolshevik power in North Azerbaijan this concept became important from the administrative and political point of view and turned to the principal concept in the political lexicon of Azeri-Armenian relations and Russia, which backed the latter. At that time the surrounding of Daghlig Garabagh changed geographically. Again we refer to the writings of A.M.Skibitski that are as follows: "…The Karabakh plateau was attached the status of autonomy in 1923 and was called the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh or briefly "Daghlig Garabagh" within the new bounds of Azerbaijan. The Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh: history of establishment, major events and their consequences. To determine main principles of the establishment of the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh, in other words to present this process more clearly, let's pay aatention to the development of major events.

From the protocol of the plenary session of the Caucasus Bureau of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party 

July 5, 1921 

Present: Member of Central Committee of Communist Party Stalin, members of Caucasus Bureau: comrade . Ordjonikidze, Kirov, Orakhelishvili, Figatner, Narimanov, Myasnikov, Commissar of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan SSR Huseynov.
Listened: Resolution:
Comrades Ordjonikidze and Nazaretyan raised issue on reconsideration of resolution of the former Plenum on Karabakh 1)Considering the necessaty to creating national concord between Muslims and Armenians and quite developed economic relations between Upper and Lower Karabakh and Azerbaijan to retain Daghlig Garabagh the part of Azerbaijan and to attach it the status of Autonomous Province with administrative center in Shusha. 4 voted for, 3 neutral. 2) To instruct the central committee of Azerbaijan to determine the borders of the autonomous province and to introduce it to the Caucasus Bureau of the Central Committee of the mmunist Party for approval. 3) To instruct Presidium of the Caucasus Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party to negotiate a candidate to the Emergency Committee of Daghlig Garabagh with the central committees of Azerbaijan and Armenia. 4) To instruct the central committee of Azerbaijan to define the degree of autonomy of Daghlig Garabagh and to introduce in to the Caucasus Bureau of the Communist Party for approval.
  Secretary of Caucasus Bureau of Central Comunittee of the Communist Party: Figatner

The source: MLIPAAF under the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party (present ARDSRIHA), ch.64, list 2, file 1, p. 118; 122-122; К истории образования Нагорно-Карабахский автономной области Азербайджанской ССР, p. 90-91; 92

 

Following the establishment of the Soviet government in Azerbaijan and with th creation of the Council of National Commissars the emergency commissars were appointed in the regions. In this connection A.N.Karakozov (1890-1938) was apponted the emergency commissar for Daghlig Garabagh. The Soviet Government of Azerbaijan sent a note to Armenia on April 30, 1920 and demanded the withdrawal of Armenian troops from Zangezur and Karabakh.The soviet government was established in Karabakh in May.

At that time Soviet Russia continued its plans of spreading Soviet regime in the Caucasus, and introducing the principles of the countries' borders division, attempted to take the control over the activity of future countries. The Caucasus Bureau of the Central Committee under the Russian Communist Party touvhed upon this issue in its instructions to the military-revolutionary council of the Caucasus front of July 7.

With the establishment of the Soviet government tin Armenia (1920, November 29) the situation with inner division as well as of the state border deteriorated. The declaration of December 1 and telegram of November 30, sent by the Revolutionary Committee of Azerbaijan to the Soviet Republic of Armenia spoke on Daghlig Garabagh and its mountain part. These documents were not presented by Armenian historians. The declaration awarded the working villagers of Daghlig Garabagh to determine their own fate.

Armenian Revolutionary Committee gave up its claims for Nakhichevan on December 28. However Armenia did not want "to lose" Karabakh. The problem of Daghlig Garabagh again emerged in the determination of borders between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The Caucasus Bureau instructed to point out the belonging of Daghlig Garabagh to Armenia in the Declaration of Armenian government. The Council of National Commissars edicted that on June 12. Such development of events could not satisfy Azerbaijan.

A session of the political and Organizational Bureau of the Central Committee of the Azerbaijan communist (bolshevics) chaired by the Q.Kaminsky, secretary of Central committee of the Azerbaijan Communist Party and held in Tbilisi on June 27 focused on the discussion of the border between Azerbaijan and Armenian in connection with the work of the commission. For the first time Daghlig Garabagh was granted the right to determine its own fate: "3. The only possible way of the problem resolution may be the attraction of Armenian and Muslim people to the work of Soviet regime construction (as mentioned in the declaration of comrade Narimanoc)". Narimanov was instructed to communicate the opinion of the Political Bureau and Organizational Bureau on the problem resolution to Teheran. On the same day Narimanov conducted direct conversation with chair of the Azerbaijan Central Executive Committee M.H.Hadjiyev and Foreign Minister M.D.Guseynov. "Narimanov: Tell them that it is the opinion of the Political and Organizational Bureau. If they support my declaration, the declaration states as follows: "Daghlig Garabagh is given the right to determine its fate independently.

Huseynov: "All right. I'll tell them everything. Anyway, I would like to say that our resolution will be greeted coldly". On the same day Guseynov informed the Caucasus Bureau about that. It was decided to convene the emergency plenum and to invite Narimanov and Myasnikyan to Tbilisi.

The way the integral part of Azerbaijan way attached the status of an autonomy: The resolutions of the Caucasus Bureau Plenum of July 4 and 5 1921. A session of the Caucasus Bureau Plenum was held in Tbilisi in such conditions. Considering a special importance, we place the exact resolutions of the protocol of the Bureau session late July 4 and July 5:

Armenians are trying to prove that Stalin played a principal role in the approval of the resolution on July 5. However, no facts prove the direction of Stalin's influence on the session of July 4 and 5 of the Caucasus Bureau of the Central Committee under Russia's Communist Party (the Bolshevics). In other words, in the struggle, preceding the establishment of USSR (December 30, 1922) Stalin's plan on autonomism, instruduced as the implementation of Lenin's idea on the federative state construction does not seem real. Therefore the metter must be considered more thoroughly:

1) Before the establishment of the USSR and the unification of Azerbaijan and Armenia within one state the Central Caucasus Bureau in fact interfered with the issue of borders and introduced itself as an authorized body. The problem of Daghlig Garabagh turned into the trilateral issue;

2) The Caucasus Bureau making use of this "right" did not allow the natural historical fulfillment of principle of determining Daghlig Garabagh's fate by its people and interpreted it as a large provincial autonomy;

3) The Caucasus Bureau wanted to influence Azerbaijan by its resolution of July 4 (Daghlig Garabagh can transfer to Armenia) and the next day Armenia by return to the issue (Daghlig Garabagh may be confirmed the part of Azerbaijan) and to ensure the favorable position for the Center and in fact it achieved its goal (Daghlig Garabagh was attached the status of autonomy). Thus, following the resolution of the plenum of the Caucasus Bureau on July 5, the situation about Daghlig Garabagh followed a new direction: The Caucasus Bureau provided the Center with a favorable resolution and started to exert pressure for its implementation. Thus, Soviet Azerbaijan faced a new condition, resulted from the forced attachment of the status of autonomy to Daghlig Garabagh. Armenia tried to deteriorate the relations with the Caucasus Bureau and Azerbaijan in the issue of Daghlig Garabagh and to interfere with Daghlig Garabagh's affairs taking the advanrage of its status of autonomy.

These issues must be fully viewed

Change in S.M.Kirov's position. After the approval of the resolution of July 5, the leadership of Azerbaijan had to initiate its fulfillment. In this connection the results of Narimanov's visit to Tbilisi were approved at the session of the Presidium of Azerbaijan Central Executive Committee held July 19 of the same year, while the session of the Political and Organizational Bureau of the Central Committee under the Azerbaijan Communist Party (the Bolshevics) held July 20 established a commission to work out the constitution of the Autonomou Province. One of the issues of this process needs to be studied thoroughly.

As is known, the Central Committee of the Azerbaijan Communist (the Bolshevics) party had a crucial role in the attachment of the status of autonomy to Daghlig Garabagh by the resolution of July 5. Obviously, the same factor is responsible for Kirov's appointment the leader of the Central Committee of the Azerbaijan Communist Party in July 1921. After Kirov came to power in Azerbaijan the official attitude to the attachment of the status of autonomy to Daghlig Garabagh changed and this process delayed to two years.

Therefore, Kirov's position on this issue and the factors that influence it require more thorough consideration. Paying attention to the extract from the minutes of the session of July 4, one can see that Kirov spoke against the retaining of Daghlig Garabagh the part of Azerbaijan and voted for its annexation to Armenia (5,b). Kirov also contributed to the development of the said resolution and participated in the session of July 20 of Political and Organizational Bureau of the Central Committee and July 19 of the Presidium of the Azerbaijan Central Executive Committee. At a session of the Political and Organizational Bureau of the Central Committee of the Azerbaijan Communist (bolshevics) Party chaired by KIrov September 26, the change in Kirov's position is evident. Among those nine people present at the session (Kirov, Narimanov, Akhundov, Qarayev, Efendieyev, Stukalov, Mirzoyan, Bunyadzade, Guseynov) 7 persons spoke for reconsideration of the resolution of Daghlig Garabagh's separation and only 2 people (Narimanov and Bunyadzade) stood for its temporary fulfillment.

A commission to collect data on this issue was established. Bunyadzade, chairing a conference held with participation of the Organizational Bureau of the Central Committee under the Azerbaijan Communist (Bolsheviks) party October 21 also supported Kirov's position. Thus, at the session the separation of Daghlig Garabagh as an autonomous province was not regarded as an expedient measure.

Thus, Kirov's ruling Azerbaijan revealed the establishment of new relations in the issue of Daghlig Garabagh's autonomy. And that is not accidental. Kirov considered its old position and even the resolution of the Caucasus Bureau on forced attachment of the status of autonomy to Daghlig Garabagh and on its fulfillment in the shortest possible time instead of declaring Daghlig Garabagh the integral part of Azerbaijan to be false.

Four months after the decree of the autonomous status of Daghlig Garabagh at the session of Presidium of the Central Committee under the Azerbaijan Comunist Party held on October 8, 1923 chaire by Kirov it was announced that the propaganda of the resolution on the autonomy of Daghlig Garabagh among the population especially among the turks (Azerbaijanis).

And what was the attitude of Azerbnaijan towards the attachment of the status of autonomy to Daghlig Garabagh? Such developments caused anxiety of the Caucasus Bureau and it started to exert pressure to make Azerbaijan accept the resolution of July 5. That was implemented in two ways. From one hand Azeri leadership was put certain demands from the other hand strengthening Armenians' participation in Daghlig Garabagh's government it tried to weaken Azerbaijan's influence in the region.

The separation of Daghlig Garabagh proceeded on par with the establishment of Transcaucasia Federation and USSR. However, the problems of its fulfillment were not reconsidered by the Azerbaijan Communist Party. On the contrary, Ordjonikidze, appointed the chair of the Transcaucasia Country Committee of the Russian Communist Party at the first session of Transcaucasia communist organizations held February 1922, applied the methods of administrative predominance in the issue as in case of the acceptance of July 5's resolution.

At the session of the Transcaucasia Country Committee held on October 27, 1922 the Central Committee of the Azerbaijan Communist Party was suggested to implement the resolution of July 5 and it was decided to appoint Karakozov the chair of the Executive Committee and to send him to an official trip to the Central Committee of the Azerbaijan Communist Party as Shadus had been sent for a responsible work.

The resolution of the Transcaucasia Country Committee was approved for implementation and a central commission (Kirov, Mirzabekyan, Karakozov) for the issues of Daghlig Garabagh and a Committee (1922, December 15, 1923, July 24) were established under the Council of the People's Commissars of Azerbaijan SSR at the session of the Central Committee of the Azerbaijan Communist Party. Yet Azerbaijan was still subject to pressure. The United Council of the Trancaucasia Federation carried out a special resolution on the acceleration of Daghlig Garabagh's separation.

The demands of the Transcaucasia Country Committee became even tougher with the establishment of USSR. A report of the Karabakh Committee was included into the diary of presidium of the Transcaucasia Country Committee in May 1923 . The Presidium of the Central Committee under the Azerbaijan Communist Party carried out a decision on decretization of autonomy and introduction of its draft to the Central Committee within three days. This resolution satisfied the Transcaucasia Country Committee. In accordance with the report of Shaduns and Karakoz the Presidium of the Transcaucasia Country Committee entrusted the central committee of the Azerbaijan Communist Party to provide for the attachment of the status of autonomy to Daghlig Garabagh within a period of one month on June 27. The session of the Presidium of the Central Committee under the Azerbaijan Communist Party, chaired by Kirov, familiarizing with the problem of Karabakh carried out a six paragraph resolution on July 1. The Azerbaijan Central Executive Committee was suggested to attach the status of autonomy to Daghlig Garabagh and to establish the Autonomous Province of Karabakh with the center in Khankendi. A commission to define the problems, connected with the borders was created. (chairman-Qarayev, members: Karakozov, Sviridov, Ildyrym and Bunyadzade), etc.

The Central Executive Committee of Azerbaijan Councils drew the same resolution on July 4, 1923. The decree "On establishment of the autonomous province of Daghlig Garabagh" of the Central Executive Committee of Azerbaijan Councils was signed by M.B.Gasymov (1879-1949) and A.M.Khanbudaqov (1893-1937) on July 7 . The decree consists of a preambule, four paragraphs and the conclusion on the establishment of a joint commission. As seen, the resolution of ther Central Committee of the Azerbaijan Communist Party and the decree differ by their names it was decided to separate Daghlig Garabagh instead of uniting these lands with the plain and mountain part of Karabakh.

The decree's title "The Autonomou Daghlig Garabagh Province" instead of "Daghlig Garabagh"attracts much attention. However, later it was called Daghlig Garabagh Autonomou Province (in order not to mix everything up we are obliged to follow this tradition yet we accept the official form of the concept) The decree is notable for its primitive content rather than that of official documents. The historical chronology of the preamble gets broken, the facts are misrepresented, the necessity to attach Daghlig Garabagh the status of autonomy is not substanciated enough.

The first paragraph of the decree makes way for legal-political misrepresentation ("1 to establish the autonomous province of Armenian part(?) of Daghlig Garabagh as a constituent of ASSR with the center in Khankendy village"). Instead of confirming the fact that Daghlig Garabagh is the integral part of Azerbaijan and the Daghlig Garabagh Autonomouy Province is established on Azeri lands, the decree uses differebt perverted statements. The third paragraph stipulates for creation of a Temporary Revolutionary Committee before the Soviet forum is established. Undoubtedly that granted even larger opportunities to the Armenian leadership of the Province. By the decision of the session of the Central Committee Presidium under the Azerbaijan Communist Party held July 16 (10 days after the decree) Shusha was annexed to the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh. A regulation on the governor executive committees was approved and introduced to the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh in 1923, while a regulation on the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh was published on November 26, 1924.

Thus, the integral part of Azerbaijan Karabakh was divided into plain and mountain parts artificially and the leadership of Azerbaijan was made to grant the status of autonomy to Armenians settling in mountain part of Karabakh later. At that the step was taken without considering the opinion of Azerbaijanis residing in Daghlig Garabagh, their rights were roughly violated and no referendum had ever been held.

Armenia's formula of Daghlig Garabagh

Armenia's position in the issue of Daghlig Garabagh's retaining the part of Azerbaijan and it acquiring the status of autonomy is also interesting to view. Armenian inially did not agree to such a resolution of the problem and grudging to the resolution of the Caucasus Bureau of the Central Committee under the Armenia Communist Party of July 5 on July 16, 1921 it continued its claims for Daghlig Garabagh.

Later it regarded the attachment of the status of autonomy to Daghlig Garabagh granted to it by the Caucasus Bureau to be the advisable step, and shaped its fight for Daghlig Garabagh as follows: Toward the release to Daghlig Garabagh from Azerbaijan's ruling once it acquires the status of autonomy-towards Daghlig Garabagh annexation to Armenia! This formula was based on strengthening of Armenian shauvinism in Daghlig Garabagh and its surroundings.

It came to the situation when K.Radek reported on Armenian shauvinism in Azerbaijan (April 23) at the twelfth session of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (April 17-25, 1923). At the same time Stalin stood against that. As for the resolution of the Caucasus Bureau of July 5 the Armenian author non reconciliating with Stalin quated him largely in this document. That was the session at which Stalin's objective description was given and "A letter to a session" by Lenin was read. It's also known that the participants of the twefth session were subject to repression. Therefore, the issues connected with K.Radek's report are to be studied once more.

Armenians, backed by a strong support in the face of Stalin, soon elucidated their intentions. Shaduns sent a message to the Transcaucasia Country Committee stating that the autonomous province (Daghlig Garabagh) must have direct contacts with the committee; "Leaders of the Transcaucasia Federation should fine an alternative and wiser resolution of the problem." Thus, he confirmed all that mentioned above on the principal formula of Armenia's further activity related to Daghlig Garabagh.

The attitude towards the attachment of the status of autonomy to the integral part of Azerbaijan-the moumntain part of Karabakh-Daghlig Garabagh and the issues emerged about it was summed up at the sixth session of the Azerbaijan Communist Party chaired by Kirov. His doubt and uncertainty about the status of autonomy attached to Daghlig Garabagh is perceived in aech sentence. At the session he said: Finally (!), we have settled this issue and undoubtedly (!) the step was a correct one. There is no doubt (?!) that we'll have to return to this issue in the future. In fact, as it has been mentioned above Kirov doubted about the correctness of the problem solution and the doubts were sound enough.

 Armenian occupation of Zangezur region of Azerbaijan, Separation of Nakhichevan from other Azeri lands

As mentioned above, the government of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic adhered to the principal of traditional historical-geographical administrative division and annexing Shusha, Dkavanshir, Dhabrail and Zangezur regions to Karabakh governorship-general, regarded them as the unique administrative region. The government of the Soviet Azerbaijan also demanded Armenia to withdraw its troops from Zangezur and Karabakh in its diplomatic note of April 30, 1920. However, in Soviet times the concept of Zangezur separate from Karabakh was created for definite purposes.

That aimed to strengthen pressure on Azerbaijan in determing the fate of the said lands. The further development of events showed that under the pressure of the Soviet Russia the attitude towards Zangezur changed in period preceding the establishment of the Soviet government in Armenia from April to November 1920. The telegram of the Azerbaijan Revolutionary Committee to the Soviet Republic of Armenia of November 40 and declaration of December 1("Narimanov's Declaration") reported on the delivery of Daghlig Garabagh to Armenia.

However, in fact 3.105 sq. versts out of total 6.742 sq. versts of Zangezur retained the part of Azerbaijan, while its 3.637 sq.versts were delivered to Armenia. The historical literature does not lighten this problem sufficiently. It found its wider reflection in the above mentioned article by A.M.Skubitski. It reads: the substantial amendment to Narimanov's declaration of Zangezur the part of the Soviet Armenia is overlooked today. That is the declaration of the Azerbaijani government on the "Right of peasants of Daghlig Garabagh to determine their own fate". To date this declaration concerns only the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh. At that period that meant the autonomy suggested not only to the whole Daghlig Garabagh and Armenians, residing within the bounds of Azerbaijan but also to kurds living in Zangezur.

Sh.I,Kasyan, chair of the Armenian Revolutionary Committee considered it better to preserve the north part of the region, inhabited by kurds the part of Azerbaijan. This opinion was approved by the Caucasus Bureau of the Central Committee under the Russian Communist Party. The part granted to Armenia retained its name Zangezur, while the administrative devision of the Soviet Azerbaijan changed at that time.

The most hard blow struck to Azerbaijan and the most hostile act was the separation of Nakhichevan from other Azeri lands, and cutting off its contacts with them through delivering a part of Zangezur to Armenia. Moreover, the step was the preparation for the further implementation of Armenia's mean plans concerning Nakhichevan.

Administrative changes in other lands of Karabakh

As a result of purposefully implemented processes of 1920-1923 the lands constituting Karabakh khanate lost their traditional historical-geographical integrity. The country was divided on 15 regions by the list of settlements issued on the basis of the materials of agricultural census enumerations conducted in 1917 and 1921. Karabakh comprised Djabrail (Karyagin), Djavanshir, Qubadly (a part of the former Zangezur region) and Shusha region.As seen that stage reflected the division of Zangezur while the areas of other regions were kept within their borders. As a result of establishment of Daghlig Garabagh Autonomous Province a number of settlements of Djavanshir, Shusha and Qubadly regions were separated from their traditional administrative divisions and annexed to the province.

That caused the need to conduct a new administrative division. The issue was discussed at a session of the commission that had developed the statue of the Daghlig Garabagh Autonomous Province. The resolution on the third issue of Plain Karabakh administrative division and form of government was as follows: to establish the Executive Committee of Lower Karabakh comprising the flat part of Djavanshir region, Shusha, Qubadly and Karyagin (Djabrayil), to apply the regulation of 1923 on province executive committee and to empower the Special commission under the Azerbaijan Central Executive Committee to conduct the division of the Plain Karabakh province.

The fourth issue of Zangezur's administrative division and form of government was also discussed at the session. As seen, in period of establishment of the Daghlig Garabagh Autonomous Province it was planned to unite the Plain Karabakh within a unique administrative unit. However, with time passed the plan was changed. In accoardance with the order of the Azerbaijan Central Executive Province of August 6, 1923 signed by Gasymov, chair of the Azerbaijan Central Executive Committee, M.Quliyev, deputy chair of the Council of People's Commissars and Interior Minister I.Sviridov, Aghdam, Djabrail and Kurdistan regions were established on the remaining part of Karabakh following the establishment of the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh.

That very document determined the composition, centers, executive committee chairs and other issues of Aghdam, Djabrail and Kurdistan, while Qubadly region was abolished.

Considering various administrative divisions conducted in the Soviet Azerbaijan, the Central Statistical Agency of Azerbaijan made calculations on the area of the country, the national composition and other issues on the basis of the materials of 1921's agricultural census enumeration. They defined that of the historical area of Karabakh (the borders of the khanate) the autonomous province of Daghlig Garabagh with an area 4.160.5 km2, Djabrail region-4.268.5 km2, Aghdam region-4.135.5 km2, Kurdistan-3.432.4 km2 (total 15.996.9 km2) retained the part of Azerbaijan, while part of the historical lands of Azerbaijan were torn from it and granted to Armenia.

Further administrative divisions resulted in the establishment of Zengilan (0.7 thousand km2), Qubadly (0.8 thousand km2), Lachyn (1.8 thousand km2) regions on a part of Zangezur preserved within Azerbaijan SSR with definite alterations (first Qubadly, later Kurdistan region).At the same time Aghdam and Djebrail regions were divided into Aghdam (1.1 thousand km2), Barda (1 thousand km2) Aghdjabedi (1.8 thousand km2), Terter (0.4 thousand km2) and Djebrail (1 thousand km2) districts. Thus Karabakh khanate, that played a occupied a worthy place in the history of the Azerbaijani state organization was divided in two parts with one part granted to Armenia while the other part turned to the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh within Azerbaijan. 

Daghlig Garabagh in 1923-1980

Speaking on the issue of autonomy attached to Daghlig Garabagh we did not pay much attention to the most important events in the history of its administrative division. Analysis show that the administrative division of Daghlig Garabagh was not condicted on the basis of scientific-geographical principles but on the specially targeted volunteer approach that means that the regions of Armenians predominance were taken as centers while other areas concentrated around them (It should be mentioned by the way that Armenians can demand their autonomy on the areas of their compact settmlement in other countries as well!).

It came to the situation when Aghbadan village of Kelbagjar, Upper Veyselli village of Fuzuli were preserved within the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh and the administrative subordinance changed. The resolution of the commission, working our the statue of the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh provided for the annexation of over 170 districts to the autonomy. The Central Statistical Agency of Azerbaijan noted that in 1924 the number of the such distructs exceeded 200, while the book of Armenian Q.Kocharyan points out the figure 215. These facts prove that the territory of Daghlig Garabagh expanded and Armenians dominated the number of the population and ethnic composition in the new settlements. Following the establishment of the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh is's territory was divided in accordance with the principle district-volost-village as follows: 1 Dizag district that comprised 5 volosts (Hadrut, Tugh, Khozaturd, Arakul, Edilli) and 48 villages; 2 Verende district, including 5 volosts (Taghavert, Sus, Chartaz, Norashen) and 46 villages; 3 Shusha district, covering Shusha city and Malybeyli volost (12 villages); 4 Khachyn district, that comprised 4 volosts (Dashbulaq, Askeran, Krasnoselsk, Qala) and 53 villages; 5 Djerabend district. The region covered 4 volosts (Margushevan, Oratag, Dovshanly, Aterk) and 53 villages. In the conduction of the new administrative division anumber of alterations were made in the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh. In August of 1930 its territory again was divided in five districts: 1. Djeraberd, 2. Martuni, 3. Stepanakert, 4. Dizag, 5. Shusha. Obviously, Varanda is called Martuni, the area of Khatuni belonged to Stepanakert. On August 17 of 1939 Dherabert was renamed Mardakert, Dizag acquired the name Hadrut.

In other words such geographical names as Dizaq, Verende, Khachyn, Cheraberd of the period of the Caucasus Albania fell into oblivion and were replaced by the names, concering Armenians, that moved on that land for a special purpose during Russia's occupation. The policy of widening the towns struck hard blow on Shusha in early 1960th.

Shusha district was abolished on January 4, 1963 and its territory transferred to Stepanakert. Yet new alterations took place in the administrative division following the resignation of N.S.Khrushchov Shusha distrct was restored on January 6, 1965. According to the resolution of Heydar Aliyev Askeran district was established in place of Stepanakert in 1978. Such administrative division of the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh existed till the collapse of USSR.

Thus, the facts mentioned above reveal clearly Armenian's policy to establish their government in the lands of another nation. Armenians once conducted the same process in West Azerbaijan-in Irevan khanate and continued their plans in Karabakh.

One of the issues of the Daghlig Garabagh Autonomous Province most falsified by Armenians was the dynamics of the number of its population and national composition. In this connection, let's review the following table, instroduced by prof. Y.Barseqov.

The comparison of the real number of population of Daghlig Garabagh (by a census enumeration) and Prof.Y.Bargasov's calculations as a result of migration (the growth from previous years in percents, calculated by us).

Year Armenians Azerbaijanis
Factual number Calculation number Factual number Calculation number
1921 128 060 128 060 7 594 7 594
1939 132 800 (3,7%)* 208 317 (62,7%) 14 100 (77,2%) 9 875 (24,1%)
1959 110 100 (-17,1%) 375 677 (80,3%) 18 000 (27,6%) 15 803 (60%)
1970 121 100 (10%) 517 223 (37,7%) 27 200 (51,1%) 22 312(41,2%)
1979 123 100 (1,6%) 620 238 (19,9%) 37 200 (36,7%) 27 176 (21,8%)
1989   731 959 (18%)   32 548 (19,7%)

Taken from Barsegov. Y. G. Право на самоопределение-основа демократического решения межнационалных проблем. К проблеме Нагорного Карабаха. Еeреван,1989,p.101 Relative growth from previous years.

 

To confuse a reader Y.Barsegov uses absolute dimensions, while the explanation needs relative indicators to be more understandable. The application of such calculations to the table reveals a degree of its absurdity. It is not possible that the factual growth of Armenians of 3.6% corresponds to the calculations of 38.5% , while in case of Azerbaijanis this relation is 46.1% to 23.1%. Such an approach aims to pervert the facts and is nothing but a mockery at a reader! Let's review the following estimate in order to direct the problem into the scientific course.

Number of Armenians in Armenia and their average density in the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh calculated by Y.Barsegov method and their comparison (per sq. km)

Average density of Armenians
Year In Armenia (factual) In the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh
(calculated by Y. Barsegov)
Total Compared with Armenia
1921 - 29,1 -
1926 25 - -
1937 33,8 - -
1939 35,6 47,3 +11,7
1959 52,1 85,4 +33,3
1970 74,1 117,5 +43,4
1979 91,4 141 +49,6
1989 103,4 166,4 +63

Taken from : Всесоюзная перепись населения 1926 г. Закавказскaя СФСР.т.ХЫВ. М., 1929, с.11-13; Вестник статистики, 1990, V 7, p.77; "Правда" от 2 июня 1939 ; Итоги Всесоюзной переписи населения 1959 г. Армянская ССР. М., 1963, с.11, 102-103; Численность и состав населения СССР. По данным Всесоюзной переписи населения 1979 г. М., 1984; Ходжабекян В.Е. Армянская Советская Социалистическая республика. Население союзных республик. М., 1977, с.278 

Y.Barsegov's unscientific calculations come to the astronomic indicator of Armenian's average density on the area of 4.4 thousand km2 that is the area of the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh! Thus, Armenian authors (i.e. Armenian nationalists) perverted the history up to the degree when to define the truth turns to a task difficult one. In fact, the growth dynamics of the population of Daghlig Garabagh was as follows. 
The growth dynamics of the Daghlig Garabagh's population in 1926-1988  

Table 6.4

Year Number of population
(thousand)
Growth from previous yeras Average annual growth through the period,%
thousand %
1926 125,3 - - -
1939 150,8 25,5 20,4 1,45
1959 130,4 -20,4 -13,5 -0,7
1970 150,3 19,9 15,3 1,3
1979 162,2 11,9 8,1 0,85
1988 182,4 20,2 12,5 1,3

Taken from : Samedzade. Z. Нагорный Карабах: неизвестная правда (О некоторых аспектах социально-экономического и демографического развития региона). Baku, 1995, с. 31

 

The above mentioned table, based on the official soviet census enumeration (except for the year of 1989), reflects the reality more truthfully and false (i.e. exaggerated) indicators of Armenian authors, purposing at a special aim, can not rebut them. Now, let's pass to the national composition of the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh.

National composition of Daghlig Garabagh Autonomous Province (by a census enumeration: thousand people) 

Table 6.5 

National composition 1939 1959 1970 1979
absolute % absolute. % absolute % absolute %
Whole population 150,8 100 130,4 100 150,3 100 162,2 100
armenians 132,8 88,1 110,1 84,4 121,1 80,5 123,1 75,9
Azerbaijanis 14,1 9,4 18,0 13,8 27,2 18,1 37,3 23,0
Russian 3,2 2,1 1,8 1,4 1,3 0,9 1,3 0,8

Taken from Достижения Нагорного Карабаха в девятой пятилетке. Стат. сб. Степанакерт, 1976, с.8, Самед-заде З. Указ.соч., p.31

Though a sensus enumeration, conducted before the collapse of USSR in 1989 was much influenced by the events of that period , Foreign Ministry of the Azerbaijan Republic worked out the ethnic map of the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh on the basis of that very census. As can be seen from this map, according to the 1989's soviet census enumeration, Armenians were responsible for 145.4 thousand (77%) and Azerbaijanis-for 40.3 thousand people (21.5%) of the total 187.8 thousand people of Daghlig Garabagh. 

The census enumeration of 1939-1979 clearly reveals the increase in the number of Azerbaijanis on the territory of Daghlig Garabagh. That was due to Azerbaijanis' devotedness to their native lands despite the persectution by Armenian separatists and the predominance of natality among them.

As for Armenians, the decline in natality among them adds to their love for migrations. The support of the center to Armenian separatists in an attempt to reduce artificially the number of Azerbaijanis in the province before the census enumeration of 1989 caused the decline in the relative number of Azerbaijnais from 23% down to 21.5%. 

The retaining of Daghlig Garabagh the part of Azerbaijan as its historical lands, continuing the traditions of close relations with other regions of Azerbaijan and a special attention of Azerbaijan to the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh created favorable conditions for the sociopolitical and economic development of the region in the Soviet times.

Yet late 1980th Armenian ideologists, willing to tear Daghlig Garabagh from Azerbaijan and their supporters tried to oppose these facts openly. Yet the truth ia always factual. The development level of the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh within Azerbaijan is clearly reflected in a statistical magazine published by the Statistical Department of the Province in Stepanakert. Later Stepanakert tried to ignore these publications. 

However, these facts should be paid much attention rather than bypass them. One of the statistical magazines described the cultural, economic state in the autonomous province within 40 years (1923-1963): In the pre-revolutionary period (that is a period preceeding the October coup d'etat of 1917) there were no secondary schools, public libraries and theaters in Daghlig Garabagh. Shusha accounted only for three special cultural and educational institutions and a cinema. To date Daghlig Garabagh has five special secondary schools educating 1 000 pupils. 164 libraries with over 930 books operate in Daghlig Garabagh.

The villages are responsible for 150 libraries containing 630 thousand books. Such cultural institutions as the Armenian State Drama Theater after M.Qorki and the State Ensemble of Sonds and Dances were located in Shusha. The province had 176 clubs and a number of scientific institutions…From the first day of the establishment of the province the Sovetakan Karabakh was published in the native language (Armenian language) As for the agriculture it was confirmed that once the land of wooden plough Daghlig Garabagh was turned into the the land of tractors and combines. 

It was pointed out that the agriculture of Daghlig Garabagh accounted for 1.4 thousand tractors, 224 combines, 670 lorries and thousands of other modern agricultural devices.Through the term of 40 years much has been done for the industrial potential of the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh. In 1962 the gross domestic product of the entire industry rose by 341, electric energy-by 945 from that of 1940. The socioeconomic life of the province developed rapidly in mid 1960th as well. 

The comparison of the indicators of social and economic development of the entire Azerbaijan, Nakhichevan ASSR and the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh in 1965-1987 shows the high tempo the the development of the province. It's evident that in 1987 Azerbaijan accounted for 686 per each 10 thousand people working in working in industry, Nakhichevan for 387, Daghlig Garabagh for 657. The per capita gross agricultural products totaled 588.501 and 692

The indicators of the social development on the province were even higher than that of Azerbaijan SSR, Armenia SSR and the whole USSR. Each 10 thousand people were provided with 86.2 bedstead in clinics in Armenia, 97.7 in Azerbaijan, and 101.7 in Daghlig Garabagh Moreover, as a result of the efforts of the Center's supporters of Armenian separatists, the preamble of the resolution on the socioeconomic development of the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh, approved by the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party and the Ministries' Council of USSR on March 24, 1988 also pointed out the progress in the social and economic development of the province. 

In time when Armenian separatists widely spread the false materials, Azerbaijan always introduced true facts to the community for discussion and tried to examine the trustworthiness of each situation.

Therefore, the National Economy Management Institute under the Ministers' Council of Azerbaijan SSR arranged a round table on the economics of the Daghlig Garabagh Autonomous Province: its problems and prospects and publishing its materials introduced them to the community in the severe days of March 1988. Thus, there's no necessity to place this facts here.

Yet we would like to pay attention to the speech of the academician of the USSR Academy of Science born Armenian T.S.Khachaturov, the chair of the scientific council of the problem "Principal funds, capital investments and economic rationality of new techniques at the conclusion of the round table. Confirming the real situation he said: "I was glad to exchange views with my colleques on the issues of further development of Daghlig Garabagh's potential.

I should confess that I was not informed enough on this issue and our conversation made it possible to fill in the gap". As can be seen, economist (!) academician T.S.Khachaturov confesses that he not informed much on the problem. In this case what should the other people do? In fact, Armenians needed the lack of information rather than its availability in their struggle for separation of Daghlig Garabagh from Azerbaijan. 

After the attachment of the status of autonomy to the integral part of Azerbaijan Daghlig Garabagh, the Armenians of Daghlig Garabagh, Armenia and even those living out of these bounds did not stop their separatist activity. In period when Armenian politicians were silent, writers, poets and other people turned to the carriers of separatism-as a strategic purpose, i.e. politicians pulled them forward. (That is the historical tradition of Armenian separatists!).

The famous Armenian writer M.Shaginyan published the book "Daghlig Garabagh" (1927) soon after the establishment of the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh. The book perverted the historical facts openly; and introduced false materials to the reader: "Daghlig Garabagh Armenian lands…" (p.3); "Daghlig Garabagh-feudal land, noble piece of Armenia" (p.5), etc. 

Armenians that could not achieve their goals in the 1920-1930th intensified their activity after the war of 1941-1945. Qr. Arutinov, secretary of the Central Committee under the Armenian Communist Party appealed to I.Stalin and raised the issue of annexation of Daghlig Garabagh Autonomous Province the part of Azerbaijan to Armenia under the same status. 

G.M.Malinkov, secretary of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party, sent the text of the message to M.J.Baghyrov, the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Azerbaijan Communist Party on November 28, 1945. Malenkov suggested him to express his opinion on the issue raised by the Central Committee of the Armenia Communist Party. In this connection Baghyrov communicated his answer to Moscow on December 10, 1945. His answer was as follows: "Top secret. To comrade Malenkov". 

I inform in response to your telegram regarding the suggestion of the secretary of Armenia Communist Party on the annexation of the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh to Armenia SSR: 

Since ancient time the area of Daghlig Garabagh Autonomoue Province was part of the Karabakh khanate with the center in Panahabad city build in a form of a tower by Karabakhian Panah khan in 1747. 

Karabakh was annexed to the tsarist Russia in 1826. Then the territory of the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh had been part of Shusha, Djavanshir, Qaryaqin and Qubadly districts of Yelizavetpol region.

As a result of an ethnic carnage arranged by Musavatists and dashnaks Shusha like may other cities of Azerbaijan and Armenia was destructed and turned into ruins. 

Within the first days of establishment of the Soviet government in Azerbaijan in 1920 the economic and political life of Karabakh was ruled by the common Provincial Revolutionary Committee. 

The issue of annexing the mountain part of Karabakh mainly inhabited by Armenians to Armenia SSR was raised in 1923. Yet due the absence of common borders between Armenia and Daghlig Garabagh and their separation by Qubadly, Lachyn, Kelbedjar and Dastefur districts inhabited by Azerbaijanis, the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh with the center in Khankendi, present Stepanakert, was established by a decree of July 7, 1923 of the Central Executive Committee by the insructon of the party bodies. 

Thus, the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh has never been the part of Armenia SSR and so does it to date. 

Much was done by Azerbaijan in the sphere of Daghlig Garabagh's economic-political and cultural development in Soviet times. One of the brilliant patterns of this development was the transformation of once the neglected and ruined village of Azerbaijan, the present center of Daghlig Garabagh-Stepanakert- into the most beautiful and highly cultural city. 

Armenians from Daghlig Garabagh made up 20,5% of students of all high scools and technical colleges of Azerbaijan SSR.

Not a small number of comrades from Daghlig Garabagh can come across among the economicm party and soviet leaders of the republic, the secretaries, deputies, people's commissars, their deputies of the Central Committee of the Azerbaijan Communist Party. 

At the same time we are not against the annexation of the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh to Armenia, yet despite the autonomy of Daghlig Garabagh and considering the predominance of Azerbaijanis in Shusha we do not agree to the delivery of the province to Armenia SSR. 

Since the establishment of Shusha it has not only been the administrative and political and cultural center but also made a great contribution to Azerbaijanis' struggle against Iranian occupants. 

Agha Mohamed shah Qadjar, the blood-sucker conqueror and executioner of Transcaucasia peoples was killed in Shusha. 

The rich music culture of the Azerbaijani people was formed in this city. The names of Ibragim khan, Vagif, Natavan and other prominent politicians and cultural workers are connected with Shusha. 

At the same time we consider it necessary to inform the Central Committee of the All-union Communist Party that it's also important to consider the annexation of Armenian regions Azizbekov, Vedi and Karabakhlar, adjacent to Azerbaijan and inhabited mainly by Azerbaijanis to our country, while considering the issue of annexation of Daghlig Garabagh to Armenia. Considering the high degree of cultural and economic backwardness of these regions their annexation to Azerbaijan will create conditions for the improvement of the socioeconomic state of the inhabitants. 

Beside all mentioned above we ask the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party to consider the following issues: 

Our Georgian brothers raise the problem of annexing Balakan, Zagatala and Qakh regions of Azerbaijan to Georgia SSR.

Though Georgian-Ingiloys account only for 9000 out of 79 000 people of these regions yet we do not mind the consideration of the issue however at the same time the party should also consider the annexation of Borchaly district of Georgia SSR mainly inhabited by Azerbaijanis to our country.

Finally, we ask you to consider the return of Daghestan's Derbent and Qasymkend regions, once the part of Azervaijan and adjacent to it, to Azerbaijan again. These areas are dominated by Azerbaijanis and the population mainly engaged in cattle-breeding passes most part of the year on the territory of Azerbaijan.

We consider it advisable to create a commission of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party involving representatives from all countries, concerned with the issue for working out proposals on all matters we have raised.

Secretary of the Central Committee of the Azerbaijan Communist Party M.C.Baghyrov

December 10, 1945, Baku

 

The answer attracted the attention of a number of researches and a number of views were exppessed about it.122Yet the matter needs to be overviewed. What is the most striking in this answer? First of all: 1) it did not took long to answer such a complicated issue as Malenkov's proposal in period of party beureucracy.

It proves that the Central Committee of the Azerbaijan Communist Party was not unprepared for such a proposal. 2) the political, scientific and historical and textual analyss of the text is also important. Let's pay immediate attention to the critical moment of all that. It comes out that the leadership of Azerbaijan, opposing all claims never evaded the issue and was always ready for their wide discussion and introduction of concrete proposals.

Such substanciated position deviated Moscow from pressing on Azerbaijan. Nevertheless, Armenian leadership did not give up its plans and even attained the mass deportation of Azerbaijanis from their native lands-Armenia SSR in 1948-1953.

However, Armenians still did not suspend their separatist activity connected with Daghlig Garabagh. This problem was once more raised in conditions of antiturk campaign in USSR in the 1960th. A petition, regarding Daghlig Garabagh's annexation to Armenia, signed by 45 thousand people was introduced in Moscow and the secretariat of the Central Committee of the Soviet Union Communist Party instructed Armenia and Azerbaijan to work out the objectives in this connection.

Armenian separatists considered this process was hammered by the secretary of the Central Committee of the Soviet Union Communist Party M.Suslov. As a result of the brave and decisive position of Heydar Aliyev, caming to power in 1969, the separatist initiatives of Armenians and their activity conducted in the Center with this purpose had not been fruitful within a long period of time. Armenians tried to raise this problem once more with the same obstinacy in period of approval of the 1977 Constitution of USSR.

Yet they did not achieve their goal. The decisive actions of H.Aliyev when he ruled Azerbaijan (1969-1982) and was one of the leaders of USSR (1982-1987) prevented the intensification of Armenians' separatist actions. 

The publication of the book "Ochaq" by Z.Babayan in Yerevan in 1984, pervertions of the history and present state of Karabakh again intensified the nationalist-separatist activity. This atmosphere was supported by Soviet government (in the face of M.S.Gorbachyov) in the conditions of "reconstruction" declared by M.S.Gorbachyov, surrounded by Armenian nationalists and laid the foundation for the new stage. Daghlig Garabagh, governed by Armenian separatists and terrorists, backed by Moscow again followed the pass of betrayal like in period of the Azerbaijan Democratice Republic in 1920. 

General view on the development of Plain Karabakh and the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh

Through its whole history Karabakh, as a unique geographical region of Azerbaijan was the province of harmonious economic and political development, likewise traditions, lifestyle and mode of life. However, the attachement of the status of autonomy to Daghlig Garabagh-mountain part of Karabakh changed the situation dramatically. 

As a result of created favorable conditions the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh started to transform into a developed agrarian-indusrial region while other parts of Karabakh inhabited by Azerbaijanis turned to its source of raw materials.The regions aroung Daghlig Garabagh inhabited by Azerbaijanis mainly focused on cooton-growing while manufacturing industry lagged behind in these regions.

These factors caused the higher rate of development of Daghlig Garabagh companred with other regions. The location of rest homes and sanatoriums in Daghlig Garabagh lead to the inflow of plain regions' inhabitants to these centers thus causing the rapid development Daghlig Garabagh economics. That promoted the receipt of big sum of funds to the budget of the Autonomous Province. The only high school of the whole region-Pedagogical Institute also located in the center of the Autonomous Province-Stepanakert. 

Unlike other historical parts of Karabakh the the economic predominance attained by Daghlig Garabagh proceeded on par with the increase of the political predominance of the autonomous province status. The plain regions of Karabakh mainly inhabited by Muslim Azerbaijanis were subject of greater pressure of the soviet regime and discrimination than the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh, dominated by Christian Armenians. 

That increased the ethnic egoism of Daghlig Garabagh Armenians backed by Moscow and Armenia SSR and created the atmosphere of open humiliation of Azerbaijanis. Thus, Armenians intensified their activity under the coordination of special centers in 1905-1906 and 1918-1920. At that period Armenians were also secretly supplied with arms. These factors along with other conditions were decisive in later occupation of other regions surrounding the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh by the minitary forces of Armenia and separatists of Daghlig Garabagh. 

Institute of History named after A.Bakykhanov of ANAS