Научная статья на тему 'How the Caucasian Bureau of the C. C. R. C. p. (B. ) discussed the Karabakh issue in 1920-1923'

How the Caucasian Bureau of the C. C. R. C. p. (B. ) discussed the Karabakh issue in 1920-1923 Текст научной статьи по специальности «Философия, этика, религиоведение»

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Ключевые слова
CAUCASIAN BUREAU OF THE C.C. R.C.P. (B.) / NAGORNO-KARABAKH / AZERBAIJAN / SOVIETIZATION OF ARMENIA / RUSSIAN-ARMENIAN TREATY / NAKHCHIVAN / ZANGEZUR / NARIMAN NARIMANOV / ARMENIA / SERGO ORJONIKIDZE / JOSEPH STALIN

Аннотация научной статьи по философии, этике, религиоведению, автор научной работы — Hasanli Jamil

The author presents the wide panorama of political intrigues around Nagorno-Karabakh which began in the early 1920s when the Bolsheviks occupied the Transcaucasus and slowed down when an autonomous republic was established in the mountainous part of the contested area. The Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.) set up in April 1920 repeatedly returned to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. A vast range of hitherto unpublished historical sources and the author's analysis of the course of events prove that under the Musavat government (1918-1920), the entire territory of Karabakh belonged to Azerbaijan. It was in April 1920, when the Bolsheviks came to power in the Transcaucasus, that it became a target of unjustified Armenian claims. Soviet Russia was actively involved in what was going on in Nagorno-Karabakh between 1920 and 1923 when the autonomous republic was set up.

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Текст научной работы на тему «How the Caucasian Bureau of the C. C. R. C. p. (B. ) discussed the Karabakh issue in 1920-1923»

THE CAUCASUS & GLOBALIZATION

Jamil HASANLI

D.Sc. (Hist.), Professor at Baku State University

(Baku, Azerbaijan).

HOW THE CAUCASIAN BUREAU OF

THE C.C. R.C.P. (B.) DISCUSSED THE KARABAKH ISSUE IN 1920-1923

Abstract

The author presents the wide panorama of political intrigues around Nagorno-Karabakh which began in the early 1920s when the Bolsheviks occupied the Transcaucasus and slowed down when an autonomous republic was established in the mountainous part of the contested area. The Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.) set up in April 1920 repeatedly returned to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. A vast range of hitherto unpublished historical sources

and the author's analysis of the course of events prove that under the Musavat government (1918-1920), the entire territory of Karabakh belonged to Azerbaijan. It was in April 1920, when the Bolsheviks came to power in the Transcaucasus, that it became a target of unjustified Armenian claims.

Soviet Russia was actively involved in what was going on in Nagorno-Karabakh between 1920 and 1923 when the autonomous republic was set up.

I n t r o d u c t i o n

The political destiny of Karabakh was largely shaped by what happened in the 1920s in the Caucasus.

The policy of Soviet Russia, which occupied the Caucasus, turned Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia into seats of potential conflicts. In the first months of the region's Sovietization,

THE CAUCASUS & GLOBALIZATION

Moscow and its representatives in the Caucasus recognized Nagorno-Karabakh as an inalienable part of Azerbaijan. In the spring of 1921, however, the Bolsheviks decided to find a plausible pretext to transfer it to Armenia. With no plausible pretexts at hand, they armed themselves with the formula "autonomy first, then mobilization of the local Armenians"; in July 1923, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region (NKAR) was set up as part of the Azerbaijan S.S.R.

Sovietization of Armenia.

The Karabakh Issue is Back on the Agenda

As soon as Soviet power was established in Armenia on 29 November, 1920, the Communists returned the Karabakh issue to the political agenda.

It should be said that the Armenians were prepared to exploit the slogans of proletarian solidarity to realize their narrow selfish interests. On 30 November, 1920, Chairman of the Azerbaijan Revolutionary Committee (Az.R.C.) Nariman Narimanov and People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs Mirza Huseynov congratulated the Armenian Revolutionary Committee in a telegram. The telegram, however, did not entirely correspond to the decision adopted by the joint meeting of the Politburo and Orgburo of the C.C. of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan.

Nariman Narimanov's speech at the grand meeting of the Baku Soviet on the occasion of establishing Soviet power in Armenia and the Declaration he read on 1 December, 1920 also contained certain contradictions.

The Declaration said: "Soviet Azerbaijan, which intends to appease the fraternal Armenian working people fighting the Dashnaks who have spilled and are spilling the innocent blood of our best Communist comrades in Armenia and Zangezur, declares that from this time on territorial issues will never cause bloodshed between two peoples who have been neighbors for centuries; the territories of the Zangezur and Nakhchivan uezds are an inalienable part of Soviet Armenia. The toiling peasants of Nagorno-Karabakh are granted the right to complete self-determination; all military actions in Zangezur are being suspended, while the troops of Soviet Azerbaijan are being pulled out."1

On 4 November, 1920, after discussing the Russian-Armenian treaty, the meeting of the Politburo of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) attended by Stalin and Orjonikidze decided that "the suggestion that Nakhchivan and Zangezur should be transferred to Armenia is disadvantageous both politically and strategically."

On 30 November, 1920, however, the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) passed a decision on the transfer of Zangezur to Armenia (the Nakhchivan issue was not discussed). Several days later, on 2 December, Envoy Plenipotentiary of the R.S.F.S.R. in Armenia Boris Legran pointed out that Soviet Russia had recognized only the transfer of Zangezur (out of the three territories mentioned above) as legal.2

The Declaration Narimanov read on 1 December mentioned Nakhchivan in addition to Zangezur.

The text which appeared in the Baku newspapers had been falsified by Orjonikidze. On 1 December, he informed Legran and People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the R.S.F.S.R. Georgy Chicherin of the following in a ciphered telegram: "Azerbaijan has already responded and transferred Nakhchivan, Zangezur, and Nagorno-Karabakh to Soviet Armenia."3 On 2 December, in another tel-

1 Kommunist, 2 December, 1920.

2 See: Radiogram of B. Legran to G. Orjonikidze. 02.12.1920, Russian State Archives of Social-Political History (hereinafter RGASPI), rec. gr. 85, inv. 14, f. 33, sheet 16 (all archival documents are in Russian unless otherwise stated).

3 G. Orjonikidze's ciphered telegram to Legran and Chicherin. 01.12.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 85, inv. 14, f. 33, sheet 12.

THE CAUCASUS & GLOBALIZATION

egram, he informed Lenin and Stalin of the following: "Yesterday Azerbaijan announced that Nakhichevan, Zangezur, and Nagorno-Karabakh were transferred to Soviet Armenia."4 Two days later, the "good news" appeared in Pravda.5

Was Grigory (Sergo) Orjonikidze misinformed, or was it a lie?

When Soviet power was established in Dilijan, G. Orjonikidze discussed the issues mentioned in the Declaration of the government of Azerbaijan with Amayak Nazaretyan by direct telephone line and said in particular that "today, the Soviet gathered for its gala meeting in Baku where Narimanov read the Declaration of the government of Azerbaijan, which pointed out that there were no longer borders between Soviet Armenia and Azerbaijan. From this day on, the territory of the Zangezur and Nakhchivan uezds has became an inalienable part of Soviet Armenia. The Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh have been granted the right to self-determination. The riches of Azerbaijan—oil and kerosene—have become the riches of both republics." Overjoyed, A. Nazaretyan exclaimed, "We shall start shouting in the press: Bravo, Azeris!"6

This means that the Declaration of the Chairman of the Azerbaijan Revolutionary Committee of

1 December, 1920 was "slightly" changed by the Bolsheviks. Two Baku newspapers (Kommunist on

2 December, 1920 and Bakinsky rabochy on 3 December, 1920) wrote about the "right to self-determination" granted to the toiling peasants of Nagorno-Karabakh, while on 7 December, 1920 the Armenian Kommunist informed readers that "Nagorno-Karabakh has been recognized as part of the Armenian Socialist Republic."

The flagrant falsifications enraged Nariman Narimanov. In June 1921, he instructed People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs Mirza Huseynov, who was in Tiflis, to inform the Caucasian Bureau that "since they refer to my Declaration, I must say that it states the following: Nagorno-Karabakh has been granted the right to free self-determination."7

Did anyone in Armenia see the real text of the Declaration? We know that the text signed by Narimanov and Huseynov was telegraphed to the Armenian Revolutionary Committee. After reading the document, Askanaz Mravyan (a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Committee) informed Armenian representative in Moscow Saak Ter-Gabrielyan that Azerbaijan had announced that Zangezur and Nakhchivan had been united [with Armenia] and that a referendum would take place in Nagorno-Karabakh.8

The collection of documents Velikaya Oktyabrskaya sotsialisticheskaya revolutsia i pobeda Sovetskoy vlasti v Armenii (The Great October Socialist Revolution and the Victory of Soviet Power in Armenia) published in 1957 in Erevan contained the original text of the Declaration kept in the Central State Archives of Armenia.9

Since the mid-1980s, Armenian authors have been using the "doctored" text; this is true of those who were involved in putting together the documentary collection of 1957.10

Nagorny Karabakh: istoricheskaya spravka (Nagorno-Karabakh: Historical Information) for example, compiled by the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian S.S.R., relied on the "edited" text

4 G. Orjonikidze's letter to V. Lenin and I. Stalin, 02.12.1920. RGASPI, rec. gr. 85, inv. 14, f. 33, sheet 20.

5 Pravda, 4 December, 1920.

6 Conversation between A.M. Nazaretyan and G.K. Orjonikidze by direct telephone line. 01.12.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 85, inv. 14, f. 37, sheet 1.

7 K istorii obrazovaniya Nagorno-Karabakhskoy avtonomnoy oblasti Azerbaidzhanskoy SSR. Dokumenty i materi-aly, Baku, 1989, p. 89.

8 From a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Committee (A. Mravyan) to representative of Soviet Armenia Ter-Gabrielyan. 04.01.1921, Foreign Policy Archives of the Russian Federation (hereinafter AVP RF), rec. gr. 04, inv. 39, folder 232, f. 53001, sheet 14.

9 See: Velikaya Oktyabrskaya sotsialisticheskaya revolutsia i pobeda Sovetskoy vlasti v Armenii, Erevan, 1957, pp. 437-438.

10 See: Nagorny Karabakh: istoricheskaya spravka, Erevan, 1988, pp. 28-29.

THE CAUCASUS & GLOBALIZATION

published by the Kommunist newspaper on 7 December, 1920 rather than on the original text available from the 1957 collection of documents. The Armenians have developed the habit of using falsified historical documents.

Nariman Narimanov: "Azerbaijan Went as far as Renouncing its Territory in Favor of Armenia When This Should Not Have Been Done for Political Reasons"

The Armenians interpreted Narimanov's Declaration as the transfer of the Zangezur and Nakhchivan uezds; this played into the hands of those forces in Bolshevist Russia that did not want Azerbaijan to preserve its territorial integrity.

In 1923, in a letter to Lenin, Nariman Narimanov admitted that this had been a mistake by saying: "Azerbaijan went as far as renouncing its territory in favor of Armenia when this should not have been done for political reasons."11

The Russian-Armenian military-political treaty signed on 2 December, 1920 registered the Zangezur Uezd as part of Armenia12; according to the latest population census, however, the Muslims outnumbered the Armenians: 123,095 and 99,257, respectively.13

On 24 December, as soon as part of Zangezur had been transferred to Armenia, Commissar Extraordinary of Karabakh and Zangezur Sh. Makhmudbekov sent a report to Narimanov (on Narimanov's instructions, a copy was sent to Orjonikidze), in which he wrote in particular that "the representatives of four units of lower Zangezur came to me to resolutely announce that they wanted to remain under Azerbaijan Soviet power. If their desire is ignored, they would like to know where they could move."14

In another of his dispatches sent to N. Narimanov and G. Sultanov on 30 December, 1920, Sh. Makhmudbekov described the situation in Zangezur as critical because of the constant threat of a Dashnak attack. He wrote that if the Center, absolutely convinced that the situation was under control, would remove its troops from the vast territory, which covered hundreds of versts, it should allow the locals to mobilize their own forces to protect Karabakh and Zangezur and concluded that "this is possible and necessary."15

On 15 February, 1921, Sh. Makhmudbekov supplemented his report of 24 December with two pages of information addressed to Narimanov, Sultanov, and Karaev: threatened with pogroms, the Muslim population of Karabakh and Zangezur needed Baku's help to protect themselves against the emboldened Dashnaks. He warned that the Dashnaks, "who cannot so far press on to Kurdistan, have stirred up a revolt in the 2nd Varandian part of the Shusha Uezd to merge with the 1st Khankendi part and isolate Nagorno-Karabakh from the valley."

11 N. Narimanov's letter to V. Lenin. 09.01.1922, RGASPI, rec. gr. 5, inv. 1, f. 1220, sheet 1.

12 See: I. Musa, Foreign Policy of Azerbaijan, Part II, Baku, 2010, p. 143 (in Azeri).

13 The Territories Disputed by the Transcaucasian Republics. 01.03.1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 5, inv. 1, f. 2296, sheet 4.

14 Sh. Makhmudbekov's Report to N. Narimanov. Copies to G. Sultanov and A. Karaev. 24.12. 1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 85, inv. 13, f. 177, sheets 2-3.

15 Sh. Makhmudbekov's Report to N. Narimanov. Copy to G. Sultanov. 30.12.1920, State Archives of the Azerbaijan Republic (hereinafter GA AR), rec. gr. 27, inv. 4, f. 17, sheet 60.

THE CAUCASUS & GLOBALIZATION

To protect the Muslim population of Karabakh and Zangezur, the commissar extraordinary suggested that Khosrov bek Sultanov (the brother of Sultan bek Sultanov), former Governor-General of Karabakh and Zangezur, well known as defender of the Azeris (arrested at the urgent request of the Armenians), be released from prison.

Sh. Makhmudbekov added a few hand-written lines, stating the following: "If Khosrov Sultanov is released, I personally shall vouch for his loyalty and fidelity and assume responsibility for his acts."16 On 28 February, the business manager of the Council of Peoples' Commissars transferred the report to G. Orjonikidze.

Why did Narimanov suggest in his Declaration that Zangezur and Nakhchivan be transferred to Armenia?

The idea belonged to the Politburo of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.). Back on 4 November, 1920, during his trip to the Caucasus, Stalin attended a joint meeting of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) and the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.), which listened to Legran's report on the situation in Armenia and passed a decision. Point "b" of the document, which related to the discussed treaty between Russia and Armenia, said the following: "To inform, at the same time, that the Politburo insists that the point on the transfer of Nakhichevan and Zangezur (suggested by Moscow.—J.H.) is not advantageous either politically or strategically and can only be carried out in an emergency." Point "d" instructed Nariman Narimanov to substantiate the Politburo's opinion about Nakhchivan and Zangezur.17

This meant that there was no Karabakh problem at all initially, which was why it was not discussed.

On 20 November, 1920, a diplomatic mission of Soviet Russia arrived in Erivan to monitor the talks between Turkey and Armenia underway in Gumri and to sort out Armenia's territorial claims to Azerbaijan and Georgia. People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs Georgy Chicherin was informed that "today, the continued existence of the Armenian people depends not so much on military force as on diplomacy. We should abandon party romanticism and arm ourselves with grim realism."

The diplomatic mission deemed it necessary to remind the people's commissar that "when talking to the Turks in Batumi (at the peace conference held in Batumi in May-June 1918.—J.H.), Kach-aznuni and Khatisyan agreed to transfer Karabakh to Azerbaijan."18

The First Decision of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.): "Strictly Confidential"

On 3 June, 1921, members of the Caucasian Bureau, G. Orjonikidze, F. Makharadze, N. Narimanov, A. Myasnikov (Martuni), I. Orakhelashvili, A. Nazaretyan, and Yu. Figatner, candidate for bureau member, Secretary of the C.C. of the Azerbaijan C.P. G. Kaminsky, and member of the C.C. of the Communist Party of Georgia, Sh. Eliava, attended a plenary session of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.).

16 Addition to Sh. Makhmudbekov's Report to N. Narimanov of 24 December. Copies to G. Sultanov and A. Kara-ev. 24.12.1920, RGASPI, rec. gr. 85, inv. 13, f. 71, sheets 1-1rev.

17 Protocol No. 4 of the joint meeting of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) and Caucasian Bureau. 04.11.1920, Archives of Political Documents at the President of the Azerbaijan Republic (hereinafter APD UDP AR), rec. gr. 1, inv. 1, f. 22, sheet 20.

18 The Diplomatic Representatives of Soviet Russia in Erivan to People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs Chicherin. November 1920, GA AR, rec. gr. 28, inv. 1, f. 38, sheet 15.

THE CAUCASUS & GLOBALIZATION

Its evening sitting was expected to discuss three questions:

(1) the Azerbaijani issue;

(2) the issue of Zangezur;

(3) the nomads.

Protocol No. 6 deals with the decisions on the first and third points; the second was discussed separately in the Addendum to the Protocol,19 which started all the trouble.

■ First, as distinct from Protocol No. 6, the decision on Zangezur, which consisted of 7 points, was marked as "strictly confidential."

■ Second, of the seven points only six dealt with Zangezur, while Point 5 said: "The declaration of the Armenian government should mention that Nagorno-Karabakh belongs to Armenia."20

This meant that Armenia was "strictly confidentially" instructed to issue a government declaration saying that Nagorno-Karabakh belonged to Armenia. The Caucasian Bureau, however, was not empowered to pass decisions of this sort.

This was not all. On 2 May, 1921, a C.C. plenary session discussed organizational issues related to the Caucasian Bureau. It was decided to set up a Presidium of three members (G. Orjonikidze, F. Ma-kharadze, and Yu. Figatner)21 to operate between the plenums. This put the Caucasian Bureau into the hands of a very narrow circle, without a single representative of Azerbaijan among them.

On 12 June, the Council of People's Commissars (CPC) of Armenia issued a decree which said: "Proceeding from the declaration of the Revolutionary Committee of the Socialist Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan and from the agreement between the socialist republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan, it is declared that from this time on Nagorno-Karabakh has become an inalienable part of the Socialist Soviet Republic of Armenia."22 The same day, A. Myasnikov and M. Karabekyan signed the document; three days later, on 15 June, it was discussed by the C.C. C.P. of Armenia, which passed the following decision: "The decree on the unification of Nagorno-Karabakh and Soviet Armenia should be published."

The same sitting discussed the fifth point of its agenda on dispatching a representative to Karabakh; it was decided "to send Comrade Mravyan together with Pirumov, Akop Ionisyan, Ter-Simo-nyan, and a group of other comrades to Karabakh;"23 the government issued a corresponding decree, which the Armenian Revolutionary Committee published a week later, on 19 June. Askazas Mravyan was appointed chargé d'affaires extraordinaire in Nagorno-Karabakh.24

The next day, the C.C. of the Communist Party of Armenia passed a decision On Strengthening Clandestine Activity in Zangezur with New Officials25 to add weight to the decision of the Armenian

19 Protocol No. 6 of the evening sitting of the plenary session of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.). 03.06.1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 1, sheet 76rev.

20 Addendum to Protocol No. 6 of the Evening Sitting of the Plenary Session of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.). 03.06.1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 1, sheet 77.

21 Protocol No. 2 of the plenary session of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.). 02.05.1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 1, sheet 57.

22 Bakinsky rabochy, 22 June, 1921,

23 Protocol No. 8 of the meeting of the C.C. of the Communist Party of Armenia. 15.06.1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 105, sheet 11rev.

24 Askanaz Arutyunovich Mravyan was born in 1886 in Ganja; in 1906, graduated from a theological seminary in Erivan; in 1905, began cooperating with the Gnchak Party; upon Sovietization of Armenia, filled various high posts in the Foreign Ministry of Soviet Armenia; edited the Khorurdain Aystan newspaper (see: A.A. Mravyan's Autobiography, 1923, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 8, f. 4020, sheet 13).

25 Protocol No. 9 of a meeting of the C.C. of the Communist Party of Armenia. 20.06.1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 105, sheet 12rev.

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Revolutionary Committee and to fortify Armenia's position in Zangezur to become firmly entrenched in Karabakh. On 28 June, Chairman of the Economic Council of Armenia Sarkis Lukashin (Srapion-yan) and Commissar of Justice A. Karinyan were sent to Zangezur.

On 28 June, the C.C. of the Communist Party of Armenia appointed P. Makintsyan as envoy extraordinary in Zangezur who, since May 1921, had filled the post of the minister of the interior of Armenia. Commissar of Post and Telegraph Drastamat Ter-Simonyan, who received the post of Chairman of the Zangezur Revolutionary Committee, was instructed to promptly occupy Gerus. The C.C. of the Communist Party of Armenia and I. Dovlatov were requested to send more assistants to

Mravyan.26

The Muslim population of Zangezur was obviously discontented, which forced the emissaries to return to Erivan. On 7 August, the C.C. of the Communist Party of Armenia condemned P. Makintsyan and D. Ter-Simonyan for leaving Zangezur without permission. Soon after that, the latter was sent to Zangezur for two months as an envoy of the C.C. of the Communist Party of Armenia and the Council of People's Commissars.27

As distinct from the Decree of the CPC of Armenia of 12 June, the Declaration of the Azerbaijan Revolutionary Committee did not mention the transfer of Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia; this was not discussed by the republics either. It seems that the authors of the Decree were inspired by the "strictly confidential" decision on the Zangezur issue which the Caucasian Bureau had passed on 3 June (the 3 June decision of the Caucasian Bureau did not mention the decree of 12 June for some reason).

I have already written that despite the classified nature of its decision, the Caucasian Bureau was not empowered to pass decisions of this kind.

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The First Attempt to Join Nagorno-Karabakh

to Armenia

In fact, the first step in this direction was made in the spring of 1921 when the government came up with a document of six points entitled The Basic Premises on Uniting Nagorno-Karabakh and the Republic of Armenia. It said that the mountainous part was separated from Lower Karabakh by a low mountain range.

Convinced that this mountain range should be joined to Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenians argued that, first, this zone was allegedly used by the Armenians and, second, there were strips of arable land.

The Armenian government drew up a document which said that Nagorno-Karabakh (including the village communities of Talysh, Maragaly, Kasapet, Kabarek, Boyakhmedli, Khanabad, Gulabli, Engikend, Kagardin, and Qajar) should become part of Armenia. The authors had to admit that certain Muslim communities (Boyakhmedli, Gulabli, Qajar, and others) would remain part of Nagorno-Karabakh because certain Armenian areas would remain in the valley.

Art 5 of the document is especially interesting. It reads: "The transfer of Nagorno-Karabakh to the Republic of Armenia should be naturally accompanied by the transfer of so-called Kurdistan, a narrow mountainous strip between Karabakh and Zangezur. Its very specific location and the nationalist sentiments of its population, however, might cause certain problems. The following should be

26 Protocol No. 11 of a meeting of the C.C. of the Communist Party of Armenia. 27.06.1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 105, sheet 17rev.

27 Protocol of a meeting of the C.C. of the Communist Party of Armenia. 07.08. 1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 105, sheet 18.

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done to neutralize possible complications: this area is situated higher than the northern Shusha-Gerusi road and consists of six village communities with a total population of 27 thousand. This area can be transformed into a canton governed by the Republic of Armenia or, as a last resort, placed under Azerbaijan's protectorate. Kurdistan might demand the Malybeyli community along with the town of Shusha. This cannot be done for the following reasons:

"1. The Malybeyli village is the only one with a settled population; it is practically non-existent: the people moved to the valley when Soviet power was established. Other villages are populated by nomads who settled on their land in the valley in the past few years.

"2. This community (Malybeyli.—J.H.) wedged between Varanda and Khachyn cannot form a unit. These two parts of the Shusha Uezd will remain divided, which means that no single administrative unit can be set up.

"3. This applies to the city of Shusha surrounded by the lands of the Shushikend community and the Armenian village of Gaybalikend. Historically, the area of the city of Shusha is part of the lands of the Shushikend community.

"4. Kurdistan is connected to the valley by the road going through Khankendi."28

The sixth, concluding, article of the document states the true intentions of the Armenian government in clear terms: "The Kaladarasi and Jamilli communities with their predominantly Armenian population are found to the south of Kurdistan in the Akkara valley. This strip with a road offers the only connection between Zangezur and Nagorno-Karabakh as a future single administrative unit with a single administration. Without this, there is no sense in joining Nagorno-Karabakh to the Republic of Armenia."29

In May 1921, the Armenian government, guided by the above and never bothering about the legal arguments, unilaterally decided to join Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. The plenary session of the C.C. of the Communist Party of Armenia held on 23 May, 1921 appointed A. Ionisyan as envoy of Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh. He was summoned from Baku to Tiflis by a telegram to receive instructions from A. Bekzadyan.30

The same plenum discussed the revolutionary committee of the Alexandropol Uezd; D. Ter-Simonyan was appointed as commissar of the Daralagez Uezd. After listening to D. Pirumov, who informed the plenum about the statement of the Zangezur commission, the meeting ruled the following: "The note to Azerbaijan should be postponed until the Nagorno-Karabakh issue is clarified at the next plenary session of the Caucasian Bureau of the R.C.P. (B.)."31

In May, Armenia obviously took practical measures to join Nagorno-Karabakh and overcome Azerbaijan's resistance. The so-called recommendations of the Caucasian Bureau and the decision of 3 June served the same purpose.

The Armenians were informed of the upcoming discussion of the problem at the June plenum of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.), the decisions of which might have supplied the Armenians' illegitimate actions with legal foundations.

In May 1921, the leaders of Azerbaijan carried out several organizational measures to forestall possible decisions on Karabakh. Armenak Karakozov, who from May 1920 to January 1921 filled a high post in the extraordinary commissariat of Zangezur and Karabakh, returned to Azerbaijan after serving for about twelve months in the Economic Council of Armenia. On 3 May, 1921, he was ap-

28 The Basic Premises on Uniting Nagorno-Karabakh and the Republic of Armenia. 1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 137, sheet 7-7rev.

29 Ibid., sheet 7rev.

30 Protocol No. 4 of a meeting of the C.C. of the Communist Party of Armenia. 23.05. 1921. RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 105, sheet 5rev.

31 Ibidem.

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pointed as commissar extraordinary of Karabakh and Zangezur by a decree of the Azerbaijan Revolutionary Committee.32

A couple of weeks later, on 15 May, the Az.R.C. repealed its mandate of 3 May and moved Karakozov to the post of deputy commissar extraordinary of the Karabakh District. The same decree appointed N. Buniyatov as temporary commissar extraordinary of the Karabakh District.33

This reshuffling evidently happened because the Az.R.C. was reluctant to send A. Karakozov, particularly when vested with "extraordinary and unlimited powers," to Karabakh, especially after Armenia declared this region "its inalienable part." This reluctance was underpinned by N. Narimanov's claim that Karakozov had "one foot in Armenia and the other in Azerbaijan," thus casting aspersions on his loyalty.

Later Sergey Kirov (who in 1921 was placed at the head of the party organization of Azerbaijan) insisted on Karakozov's appointment as a senior official in Karabakh. On 5 February, 1922, the joint meeting of the Politburo and Orgburo of the C.C. of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan passed the following decision: "To send Comrade Karakozov to Karabakh. Comrade Karakozov will receive the instructions related to his duties from the C.C. of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan."

The decision of the joint meeting consisted of two parts; the second pointed out that Karakozov was delegated as a "representative of the Az.R.C. and the Armenian Revolutionary Committee and the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.)."34 Obviously, the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) appointed Karakozov as a representative of both sides.

Sergo Orjonikidze: "The Karabakh Issue is a Matter of Honor for All the Soviet Republics and Should Be Resolved Once and For All"

Protocol No. 6 of the plenum of the Caucasian Bureau clearly indicates that Nariman Narimanov was also present: point 1 of the agenda was related to his opponents. Sarkis [Sarkisov] was promptly fired, while the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) was suggested that, without disrupting the smooth functioning of the Baku Committee, G. Jabiev, R. Akhundov, S. Agamirov, O. Shatunovskaya, and G. Lordkipanidze be moved to new posts.35

Nariman Narimanov, who remained the only member at the 3 June sitting, preferred not to comment on the decision of the Caucasian Bureau. He decided to continue fighting with the help of republican structures. On the other hand, the secret decision of the Caucasian Bureau on the Zangezur issue signed by Yu. Figatner and stamped by the Caucasian Bureau was sent to all the Bureau members, including N. Narimanov in Baku.36

The absence of Azerbaijan's prompt response and protest against the illegal inclusion of the article relating to Karabakh encouraged the Armenians to intensify their claims on Karabakh and start moving in this direction.

32 Registry of outgoing papers of Az.R.C. for 1921, GA AR, rec. gr. 410, inv. 2, f. 14, sheet 14.

33 Ibid., sheet 7.

34 Protocol of a meeting of the Politburo and Orgburo of the C.C. of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan. 05.02.1922, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 71, f. 123, sheet 26.

35 Protocol No. 6 of the evening sitting of the plenary session of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.). 03.06.1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 1, sheet 76.

36 See: Addendum to protocol No. 6. Strictly confidential. 03.06.1921, GA AR, rec. gr. 410, inv. 1, f. 98, sheet 5.

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What caused the hasty and legally untenable actions designed to transfer Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia? What was behind Armenia's actions and the decision of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.) in May-June 1921?

The answer is simple. On 15 June, the commission on border problems among the Transcauca-sian republics was to meet in Tbilisi. On 2 May, 1921, the plenary session of the Caucasian Bureau set up a commission of representatives of the three republics headed by Sergey Kirov to delimitate the administrative borders.37

On the eve of the Tiflis meeting, the Caucasian Bureau (by its decision of 3 June) and the Armenian government (by a decree of 12 June) wanted to confront Azerbaijan with the accomplished transfer of Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia.

On 26 June, the CPC of Azerbaijan discussed A. Karaev's report about his trip to Nagorno-Karabakh and Nakhchivan and decided that the Armenian claims to Nagorno-Karabakh should be studied and summarized in a detailed report to the Council. A group of three (Shakhtakhtinsky, Vezi-rov, and Aliev) was set up to cope with the task. It was decided to suspend the powers the Armenian government had extended to Mravyan until the group had completed its report and to inform G. Or-jonikidze, Chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Committee A. Myasnikov, Navy Commissar of Azerbaijan A. Karaev, and A. Mravyan of this decision.38

On 27 June, Narimanov, in fulfillment of the decision, informed G. Orjonikidze and A. Myasnikov by telegraph that the CPC of Azerbaijan had unanimously deemed the unilateral decision on Nagorno-Karabakh passed by the Armenian Revolutionary Committee without discussion at the CPC of Armenia and the arrival of A. Mravyan in Nagorno-Karabakh as envoy extraordinary of Armenia to be an unprecedented political and tactical mistake. It was also requested that Mravyan be immediately recalled.39

Four days after Kirov had been elected First Secretary of C.C. of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan it was urgently requested to urgently deliver Karaev's report to the C.C. of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan no later than 03:00 p.m. of 29 July.40

Business Manager of the CPC of Azerbaijan A. Shirvani replied that in the absence of a verbatim report, it was impossible to reconstruct what Karaev had said at the meeting.41

On 27 June, a joint sitting of the Politburo and Orgburo of the C.C. of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan discussed the problem of borders between Azerbaijan and Armenia and dismissed the Nagorno-Karabakh issue raised by A. Bekzadyan as untenable in view of the region's obvious economic bias toward Azerbaijan. Likewise, it was administratively and economically untenable to divide the localities with Armenian and Azeri populations between the two republics. On the basis of Narimanov's declaration, involving Armenian and Muslim villagers in wide-scale Soviet construction was suggested as the only answer. It was also suggested that all discussions be discontinued until relevant information had arrived from Tiflis. Even before the sitting adjourned, A. Shirvani, instructed by Narimanov, informed Huseynov in Tiflis of this decision.42

His message said in part: "The Council of People's Commissars has agreed with the decision. Comrade Narimanov asked me to inform you that the question must be resolved in this way, other-

37 Protocol No. 2 of the sitting of the Caucasian Bureau of C.C. R.C.P. (B.). 02.05.1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 1, sheet 57.

38 Protocol of a sitting of the Council of People's Commissars of Azerbaijan. 26.06.1921, GA AR, rec. gr. 411, inv. 1, f. 12, sheet 1.

39 Telegram of N. Narimanov to G. Orjonikidze and A. Myasnikov (copies to A. Mravyan and A. Karaev). 28.06.1921. RGASPI, rec. gr. 85, inv. 13, f. 98, sheet 1; N. Narimanov, Izbrannye proizvedenia (Selected Works), Baku, 1989, pp. 523-524.

40 The C.C. of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan to the Faction of the CPC of Azerbaijan S.S.R. 28.07.1921, GA AR, rec. gr. 411, inv. 1, f. 12, sheet 3.

41 A. Shirvani to the C.C. C.P. of Azerbaijan. 04.08.1921, GA AR, rec. gr. 411, inv. 1, f. 12, sheet 1.

42 Protocol No. 20 of the sitting of the Politburo and Orgburo of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.). 27.06.1921, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 74, f. 1231, sheet 64.

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wise the Council will divest itself of all of its responsibilities, since if this is the way Soviet Armenia wishes to make a good impression on the Dashnaks and the non-party masses, we should bear in mind that by the same token we will be reviving anti-Soviet groups in Azerbaijan similar to the Dashnaks."

At this point Narimanov took the receiver and said to Huseynov: "Tell them that this is the unanimous opinion of Politburo and Orgburo. My declaration, to which they refer, merely said, 'Nagorno-Karabakh is being granted the right to free self-determination.'"

Huseynov, in turn, promised to personally supply the details of the Tiflis process and deemed it necessary to warn that "our decision will be coolly received." He reminded Narimanov of the talk that had taken place the day before, saying: "Yesterday I spoke to Comrade Sergo, who minced no words: the Karabakh issue is a matter of honor for all the Soviet republics and should be resolved once and for all. These were his exact words, which I quoted to you yesterday."

Nariman Narimanov said: "Today we sent you a telegram, with copies to Sergo, Myasnikov, and Karaev, to inform you that Comrade Mravyan has been recalled from Karabakh."

Mirza Huseynov deemed it necessary to point out that the situation was far from simple and that a way out should be sought for and found. He said: "I think we should first discuss in detail why, on the one hand, the CPC of Armenia is making one declaration and sending its commissar extraordinary to Karabakh, without informing us so to speak, although our Armenian comrades insist that this is being done with our knowledge and consent. While on the other hand, we are sending them a telegram that essentially annuls their decisions. I am at a loss. I think that the question should be discussed more than once—there is no other solution. Right now I shall consult with Sergo and contact you once more before my departure."

Narimanov asked Huseynov to tell Orjonikidze that "if he familiarizes himself with the material we have at our disposal, he will also object to all of this. You will bring all the documents with you to Tiflis and then it will become clear that our Armenian comrades are only thinking about the territory and are not concerned about the wellbeing of the poorest Armenian and Muslim groups or about strengthening the revolution."43

The question is who allowed the Armenians to speak in the name of the Azeri leaders? Mirza Huseynov, who said that "this is being done with our knowledge and consent," hinted at Nar-imanov's failure to speak out at the meeting of the Caucasian Bureau on 3 June. His passivity negatively affected the course of the discussion of the Karabakh issue. Later, however it turned out that it had been Orjonikidze and Kirov who gave the Armenians this permission. Having concentrated real power in the Caucasus, they were looking for ways to transfer Karabakh to Armenia. It was they who handed Narimanov the telegram on 26 June with Bekzadyan's idea about dividing Karabakh on national-ethnic grounds. The telegram read: "If you want to know our opinion, it is the following: to smooth out the friction and establish genuinely friendly relations when dealing with the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, we should be guided by the principle that none of the Armenian villages should be united with Azerbaijan, just as none of the Muslim villages should become part of Armenia."44

The same day, 27 June, Huseynov, on Narimanov's instructions, moved the issue to the Caucasian Bureau, which ruled the following: "An extraordinary plenum of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.) must be convened immediately. The following telegram should be sent to comrades Narimanov and Myasnikov: 'The Presidium of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.) suggests that when you receive this you must immediately depart to attend the extraordinary plenum of the Caucasian Bureau to discuss delimitation of the republics. There are six members of the Caucasian

43 Conversation of A.G. Shirvani and N. Narimanov by direct phone line with M.D. Huseynov. 27.06.1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 215, sheet 14.

44 Telegram of G. Orjonikidze and S. Kirov to N. Narimanov. 26.06.1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 85, inv. 18, f. 229, sheets 1-2.

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Bureau in Tiflis; if you fail to arrive, their decision will be considered final, therefore we insist that you go there at once.'"45

On 28 June, the CPC met once more under N. Narimanov's chairmanship. Myasnikov's Declaration, which proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh part of the Armenian S.S.R., was declined; the meeting discussed the possibility of recalling Mravyan, extraordinary representative of Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh. The meeting registered that "in view of Comrade Narimanov's planned trip to Tiflis, where the question will be discussed by the Caucasian Bureau, the decision of the Politburo and Orgburo of 27 June, 1921 on this issue should be taken as the basis."46

The intensified Armenian claims to the mountainous part of Karabakh forced Chairman of the Shusha Uezd Executive Committee B. Buniyatov to send Narimanov and People's Commissar for Internal Affairs G. Sultanov a report on the Situation in the Shusha Uezd, in which he wrote: "The Armenian population (of Nagorno-Karabakh.—J.H.) showed no intention of separating themselves from the Az.S.S.R. because, first, the people know that if they are cut off from the valley they will perish, second, that they will get nothing from impoverished and starving Zangezur except for circulars, and, third, that as part of the Az.S.S.R. they will speak with a strong voice and with the hope that their demands will be promptly satisfied; this will never happen in the Armenian S.S.R.... What the Armenians are saying about being stepchildren in the Az.S.S.R. is explained by the tactless and inappropriate behavior of some of the officials."47

Why Are the Armenians Falsifying the Well-known Documents of the Caucasian Bureau Relating to Nagorno-Karabakh and Implicating Stalin?

The famous sitting of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.) of 27 June, 1921 never considered the historical and ethnographic aspects; the decision was based on Karabakh's economic pull toward Azerbaijan.

On 4 July, however, at another plenum of the Caucasian Bureau attended by Stalin, Kirov (future head of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan) and Orjonikidze (the republic's curator) voted for the following resolution: "To include Nagorno-Karabakh in the Armenian S.S.R. and limit the plebiscite to the mountainous part."48

The plenary session was attended by member of the C.C. R.C.P. Stalin and members of the Caucasian Bureau Orjonikidze, Makharadze, Narimanov, Myasnikov, Kirov, Nazaretyan, Orakhe-lashvili, and Figatner. The discussion revealed two opposite opinions.

The participants were invited to vote for the following:

(a) Karabakh should remain part of Azerbaijan (Narimanov, Makharadze, and Nazaretyan voted "for"; Orjonikidze, Myasnikov, Kirov and Figatner, "against";

45 Protocol No. 5 of a sitting of the Presidium of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.). 27.06.1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 2, sheet 73.

46 Protocol of a meeting of the CPC of Azerbaijan. 28.06.1921, GA AR, rec. gr. 379, inv. 3, f. 9, sheet 10.

47 Report of Chairman of the Shusha Uezd B. Buniyatov to N. Narimanov and G. Sultanov, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 169, f. 249/II, sheets 31-32.

48 Protocol No. 11 of the evening sitting of the plenary session of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.). 04.07.1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 1, sheet 118.

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(b) The plebiscite should be carried out throughout the entire territory of Karabakh among the Armenians and Muslims (Narimanov and Makharadze voted "for").

(c) The mountainous part of Karabakh should be joined to Armenia (Orjonikidze, Myasnikov, Figatner, and Kirov voted "for").

(d) The plebiscite should be carried out only in Upper Karabakh, that is, among the Armenians (Orjonikidze, Myasnikov, Figatner, Kirov, and Nazaretyan voted "for").49

The protocol contains a note: Comrade Orakhelashvili was absent when the vote on Karabakh was taken. This was a much more honest position than that of future Secretary of the C.C. of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan Kirov and Orjonikidze, who repeatedly demanded in his telegrams to Lenin and Chicherin that both the valley and the mountainous part of Karabakh be left in Azerbaijan. They voted "for" on the two last points.

The adopted decision violated Azerbaijan's territorial integrity.

This made people wonder why Orjonikidze and Kirov, who several months earlier "could not imagine Azerbaijan without Karabakh," changed their minds in June 1921 and voted against Azerbaijan at the 4 July sitting of the Caucasian Bureau. Were they guided by the Center's secret instructions?

Here is an explanation: the Moscow Treaty of 16 March, 1921 between Soviet Russia and Turkey (with a point which preserved Nakhchivan within Azerbaijan) turned Nagorno-Karabakh into a target of secret and then open discussions at the Caucasian Bureau in June-July 1921 and triggered attempts to transfer Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia by force.

The decision of the Caucasian Bureau of 4 July was frequently falsified and misinterpreted; Academician T. Kocharli has written the following on this score: "The Armenian authors performed a 'minor' operation by replacing the verb 'include' with the verb 'leave in'."50

Nariman Narimanov stated resolutely that "because the Karabakh issue is so important to Azerbaijan, I believe it necessary to transfer the final decision on it to the C.C. R.C.P."51 It was thanks to his protest that the meeting arrived at the following decision: "Since the Karabakh issue has caused serious disagreements, the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.) believes it advisable to transfer the final decision to the C.C. R.C.P. (B.)."52

This meant that the same sitting discussed the Karabakh issue as Point 5 of the agenda; the decision passed by a majority vote after Narimanov's statement (Point 6) annulled the previous results.

This issue was never discussed in the C.C. R.C.P. (B.) because, first, Orjonikidze had renounced his previous erroneous position and, relying on Nazaretyan, demanded that the decisions of the previous plenary session on Karabakh be revised.53

On 5 July, the plenary session of the Caucasian Bureau adopted the following decisions on Point 2 of the agenda in view of N. Narimanov's firm position and G. Orjonikidze's retreat from his previous stand:

(1) proceeding from the need to maintain national peace between the Muslims and the Armenians, the economic ties between Upper and Lower Karabakh, and its constant contacts with Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh should be left within the Azerbaijan S.S.R. with broad regional autonomy and its administrative center in the town of Shusha, which belongs to the autonomous region;

49 Ibidem.

50 T. Kocharli, Karabakh: Lies and Truth, Baku, 1998, p. 172 (in Azeri).

51 Protocol No. 11 of the evening sitting of the plenary session of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.). 04.07.1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 1, sheet 114.

52 Ibidem.

53 Protocol No. 12 of the plenary session of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.). 05.07.1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 1, sheet 112.

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(2) the C.C. of Azerbaijan should be instructed to identify the boundaries of the autonomous region and present the results to the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.) for approval;

(3) the Presidium of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. should be instructed to talk to the C.C. of Armenia and the C.C. of Azerbaijan about a candidate for the post of commissar extraordinary of Nagorno-Karabakh;

(4) the C.C. of Azerbaijan should be instructed to identify the volume of rights of the autonomy of Nagorno-Karabakh and present the result to the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. for ap-

proval.54

When commenting on the repeal of the first "fair decision" on the Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian side referred to Stalin's unexpected arrival in Tiflis, who had allegedly pulled the strings for the Azeris in his usual manner.

Why do the Armenian historians who falsify the historical documents of the Caucasian Bureau implicate Stalin in the "transfer" (their favorite term) of Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan? Because the crimes perpetrated under Stalin give the Armenians a chance to present themselves as victims of the totalitarian regime and create the semblance of "fairness restored."

The Armenian authors and politicians who ascribe the transfer of Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan to Stalin's decision are courting the world public for approval since "it has become fashionable to heap the guilt for all misfortunes on Stalin."55

In his publication of 1989, Doctor of Philosophy Grant Episkoposyan of Moscow State University, for example, never hesitated to distort the facts and describe Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Armenia transferred to Azerbaijan on Stalin's instructions.56

Prof. A. Karsetsi, who did not bother to look into the protocols of the Caucasian Bureau, wrote in his book Konflikty mezhdu narodami i puti ikh preodoleniya. Kprobleme Nagornogo Karabakha (Conflicts between Peoples and Ways to Settle Them. On the Problem of Nagorno-Karabakh), where he claimed to present the latest findings, that "Stalin arrived from Nalchik, where he had been on leave at the time, and supported Narimanov's demands, contrary to what he had written earlier in his article 'Da zdravstvuyet Sovetskaya Armeniya!' (Long Live Soviet Armenia!), which appeared in Pravda on 4 December, 1920. His opinion, alas, proved to be decisive; Nagorno-Karabakh was transferred to Azerbaijan."57

Another publication issued by the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian S.S.R. (Nagorny Karabakh: istoricheskaya spravka) likewise heaps the blame on Stalin: "The decision of 5 July, 1921 was imposed by Joseph Stalin."58 It should be said that the book is a result of the joint efforts of prominent Armenian historians who know why Nagorno-Karabakh was transferred to Azerbaijan.

Protocols No. 11 (the plenary session of the Caucasian Bureau of 4 July) and No. 12 (the 5 July session) provide an absolutely clear picture. Stalin, who was present at both sessions, said nothing about Karabakh. Protocol No. 8 of the plenary session of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.) of 2 and 3 July is kept together with the protocols of 4 and 5 July in the same record group. Any impartial researcher will discover Stalin's name at the top of the list of those present at these plenums.59

54 Protocol No. 12 of the plenary session of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.). 05.07.1921.

55 Ig. Aliev, Nagorno-Karabakh: Istoria. Fakty. Sobytia, Baku, 1989, p. 84.

56 See: G. Episkoposyan, "Stalin i armyansky vopros," Kommunist, 22 January, 1989.

57 A. Karsetsi, Konflikty mezhdu narodami i puti ikh preodoleniya. K probleme Nagornogo Karabakha, Ayastan, Erevan, 1990, p. 31.

58 Nagorny Karabakh: istoricheskaya spravka, p. 33.

59 See: Protocol No. 8 of the plenary session of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.). 02-03.07.1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 1, sheets 87-88; Protocol No. 8 of the plenary session of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.) with representatives of local party organizations and trade unions. 02-03.07.1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 85, inv. 18, f. 59, sheets 12, 14.

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It was Addendum to Protocol No. 8 that registered "the fact of the appearance of nationalist 'Communist' groups in the Communist organizations of the Transcaucasus, which were fairly strong in Georgia and Armenia and weak (in terms of their numbers and quality) in Azerbaijan."60

The results of the discussion of the Zangezur (3 June, 1921) and Nagorno-Karabakh (4-5 July) issues were caused by a wave of Communist nationalism in Armenia raised by the fact that the Moscow Treaty (March 1921) between Soviet Russia and Turkey had registered the status of the Nakh-chivan region.

On 15 April, 1921, People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of Armenia A. Bekzadyan (who headed the Armenian delegation at the Moscow talks) sent a long letter of protest to Chicherin in which he accused Soviet Russia of failing to protect the interests of the Armenians. The letter said: "The Armenian delegation finds it very important to point out that the Turkish delegation at the conference acted as a protector and defender of the Muslim population of the Transcaucasus and of the interests of Soviet Azerbaijan in particular."61

People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs A. Bekzadyan was concerned about the fact that Turkey had managed to retain Nakhchivan, a border point of great importance for its safety in the east, within Azerbaijan.62 He deemed it necessary to stress that "the conference's decision on the Nakhichevan and Sharuro-Daralagez issues deprived Armenia of the possibility of administering Zangezur, which belongs to it, in a normal way."63

Georgy Chicherin wrote a letter to Saak Ter-Gabrielyan, who represented the Soviet government of Armenia, informing him of the above, by saying that he was amazed by Bekzadyan's attempt to justify what the Armenian delegation had been doing at the Moscow conference and push the guilt onto the Russian delegation.

He wrote that the Armenians with whom he had been communicating were well-aware of the conference's main aim and had never complained of its decisions.64

Chicherin sent a more or less similar telegram to Boris Legran in Tiflis, which said: "I strongly object to the way Bekzadyan is trying, first, to heap the guilt on the Russian delegation and, second, to purge the Armenian delegation of accusations in front of readers or listeners, of whom I know nothing, by distorting the facts and suppressing information of which the Armenian delegation was well aware."65

The Armenians resorted to blackmail of this sort to be able to take advantage of an opportune moment (in the context of the closed discussions of the Moscow Treaty) to appropriate Karabakh and pull the Center to their side. The Armenian leaders obviously wanted Karabakh as a compensation of sorts.

The Nagorno-Karabakh issue was discussed once more on 5 July at the insistence of Orjonikidze and Nazaretyan; some of the Armenian authors, however, wrote (for obvious reasons) that it was Narimanov, not Nazaretyan, who together with Orjonikidze put the question back on the agenda.66

In their joint article, which appeared in Moscow, V. Zakharov and S. Sarkisyan revived the erroneous statement that Nagorno-Karabakh had not been transferred to Azerbaijan until 5 July.67

60 Protocol No. 8 of the plenary session of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.) with representatives of local party organizations and trade unions. 02-03.07.1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 85, inv. 18, f. 59, sheet 14.

61 A. Bekzadyan's letter to G. Chicherin. 15.04.1921, AVP RF, rec. gr. 04, inv. 39, folder 232, f. 53001, sheets 58-59.

62 Ibid., sheet 59.

63 Ibid., sheet 62.

64 G. Chicherin's letter to Ter-Gabrielyan. 21.04.1921, AVP RF, rec. gr. 04, inv. 39, folder 232, f. 53001, sheet 63.

65 G. Chicherin's telegram to B. Legran. 22.04.1921, AVP RF, rec. gr. 04, inv. 39, folder 232, f. 53001, sheet 65.

66 G. Melik-Shakhnazarov, "Politizatsia istorii kak istochnik napryazheniya mezhnatsionalnykh otnosheniy," in:

Mayendorfskaya deklaratsia 2 noyabrya 2008 goda i situatsiya vokrug Nagornogo Karabakha, Collection of articles, Moscow, 2008, p. 311.

67 V.A. Zakharov, S.T. Sarkisyan, "Azerbaidzhano-karabakhskiy konflikt: istoki i sovremennost," in: Mayendorfskaya deklaratsia 2 noyabrya 2008 goda i situastiya vokrug Nagornogo Karabakha, p. 221.

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It is a well-known fact, however, that Stalin had been in Tiflis since the end of June, therefore his surprise arrival on 5 July is nothing but a later invention. He came to Georgia to replace more or less independent Philip Makharadze, who had quarreled with Orjonikidze, with more pliable Budu Mdivani.

Alexander Myasnikov: "It was as though Agaronyan, Topchibashev, and Chkhenkeli had Attended the Latest Plenum of the Caucasian Bureau"

In mid-August 1921, when talking on the phone to Orjonikidze, Alexander Myasnikov said that treatment of the Karabakh issue in Armenia had become more or less loyal.68

On the whole, during the first months of Sovietization, the Armenians still expected Soviet Azerbaijan to fulfill their demands.

In January 1922, at the First Congress of the Communist Party of Armenia, when asked why Nagorno-Karabakh had not been joined to Armenia, Myasnikov answered: "It was as thought Agaronyan, Topchibashev, and Chkhenkeli had attended the latest plenum of the Caucasian Bureau. Azerbaijan said that if Armenia demanded Karabakh, it would not supply it with kerosene."69

The Caucasian Bureau was informed about the meetings of the Orgburo and Politburo of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) held in July 1921, the heated debates over the Nagorno-Karabakh problem, and the disagreements between the Bolsheviks of Azerbaijan and the C.C. of the Communist Party of Armenia.70

On 19 July, 1921, after discussing the decision of the Caucasian Bureau of 5 July and N. Narimanov's trip to Tiflis, the Presidium of the CEC of Azerbaijan ruled that "Nagorno-Karabakh remains an inalienable part of Soviet Azerbaijan with the right to internal self-administration within the Soviet Constitution with the regional Executive Committee as its governing body."71

In his report, Narimanov spoke about the administrative borders between Azerbaijan and its Transcaucasian neighbors; he also pointed out that "in view of the considerable working-class element in Shusha, the question of a Shusha City Executive Committee (in addition to the regional Executive Committee) is on the agenda. The C.C. of the C.P. of Azerbaijan should do the same in relation to the party organizations in Nagorno-Karabakh: in addition to the regional party committee, a city party committee should be set up. The relations between the regional and city Executive Committees and the Party Committees should be the same as in Baku (that is, between the Baku Party Committee and the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.)."72

On 20 July, the day after the meeting of the Presidium of the CEC of Azerbaijan and after hearing what Aligeidar Karaev had to say about the situation in Karabakh, the Politburo and Orgburo of

68 A. Myasnikov's talk with G. Orjonikidze by direct telephone line. August 1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 85, inv. 18, f. 177, sheet 4.

69 Materials of the First Congress of the Communist Party of Armenia. 26-29.01.1922, RGASPI, rec. gr. 1, inv. 1, f. 232, sheets 22-23.

70 Information about the protocols of the C.C. C.P. of Azerbaijan for July 1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 90, sheet 173rev.

71 Protocol of a sitting of the CEC of Azerbaijan. 19.07.1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 31, sheet 122.

72 N. Narimanov, op. cit., pp. 533-534.

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the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) decided to set up a commission of representatives of the people's commissariats of internal affairs, justice, and foreign affairs to draft a constitution of the autonomous region. An excerpt from the decision was sent to S. Chvanov (People's Commissariat for Justice), Suleymanov (People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs), and Andreev (People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs). S. Adigezalov temporarily preserved his post of secretary of the Shusha Uezd Committee of the Communist Party.73

Despite the decision of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.) of 5 July, all sorts of Armenian organizations remained involved in destructive actions against Azerbaijan. On 23 July, A. Karaev deemed it necessary to telegraph Narimanov and Huseynov from Shusha to inform them that "Comrade Ter-Simonyan, envoy extraordinary of Soviet Armenia, has issued an order in the Azeri, Russian, and Armenian languages, in which he informed in Gorisa that the mountainous part of Karabakh had been joined to Soviet Armenia. On the other hand, this provocation was accompanied by Ter-Simonyan appointing Musaev (Ojaggulu Musaev.—J.H.) as envoy plenipotentiary to Kurdistan. This complicated the political situation in Shusha; now it is gradually returning to normal. Ter-Simonyan wants to unite the Kubatli Uezd Executive Committee with Zangezur at all costs. Musaev disbanded the local executive committees in the Minkend area and replaced them with revolutionary committees. We should put an end to this bacchanalia and take resolute measures against Ter-Simonyan."74

The document contains Narimanov's resolution "To the Caucasian Bureau. Send a telegram with a request to take measures." On 8 August, the Politburo and Orgburo of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) expelled O. Musaev from the Communist Party for exceeding his authority and interfering with party and Soviet work in Kurdistan.75

The decisions of the Caucasian Bureau of 5 July began to be implemented in the first days of August. On 1 August, 1921, an extraordinary Congress of the Soviets of the 2nd Part of the Shusha Uezd was held in the village of Kendhurt. L. Mirzoyan, who was invited to represent the Council of People's Commissars, delivered a report in which he proved that economically, spiritually, politically, and ethnically Karabakh was closely connected with Baku as the center of Azerbaijan. He described the decision of the Caucasian Bureau to set up an administrative unit subordinated directly to Baku in the mountainous part of Karabakh as absolutely correct76 and promised that with the establishment of an autonomy all the problems would be resolved.77

Upon his return, Mirzoyan supplied a detailed report in which he wrote, in particular, that the Karabakh issue had been created (and fanned) by top party and Soviet officials, on the one hand, an by the Armenian nationalist-minded intelligentsia, on the other.78

In their joint report on the Situation in Karabakh delivered on 8 August, 1921 at a joint meeting of the Politburo and Orgburo of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.), L. Mirzoyan and A. Karaev confirmed this opinion. The report, which dealt mainly with party work in Karabakh, served as the basis for a new Shusha Uezd Party Committee consisting of S. Adygezalov, Makhmudbekov, Danelyants, Ataev, Safarov, Avakyan, and A. Kambarov; A. Karaev was appointed as temporary envoy extraordinary to Karabakh.79

73 Protocol No. 22 of the meeting of the Political and Organizational Bureau of the C.C. C.P. (B.) of Azerbaijan. 20.07.1921. APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 2, f. 18, sheet 94; RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 92, sheet 51.

74 A. Karaev's telegram from Shusha to Chairman of the CPC of Azerbaijan N. Narimanov. Copy to M.D. Huseynov. 23.07. 1921, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 3, f. 104, sheet 209.

75 Protocol No. 27 of the meeting of the Politburo and Orgburo of the C.C. Az.C.P. 08.08.1921, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 2, f. 18, sheet 114rev.

76 Protocol of the extraordinary Congress of the Soviets of the 2nd Part of the Shusha Uezd. 01.08.1921, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 2, f. 18, sheets 120-120rev.

77 See: Pravda o Nagornom Karabakhe, Stepanakert, 1989, p. 31.

78 Report by L. Mirzoyan at the C.C. Az.C.P. (Copy to the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.)) about his trip to the mountainous part of Karabakh. 03.08.1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 95, sheet 3rev.

79 Protocol No. 27 of the meeting of the Politburo and Orgburo of the C.C. Az.C.P. 08.08.1921, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 2, f. 18, sheets 114-114rev.

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After 5 July, it was rumored that the Armenians had been evicted from Karabakh to Armenia (L. Mirzoyan mentioned in his report that the rumors were started by nationalist-minded Armenians); gradually this "information" reached the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.)

It should be said that all those who were displeased with the decisions of the Caucasian Bureau of 5 July acted through Kirov (when he was elected First Secretary of the C.C. of the Community Party of Azerbaijan).

In August 1921, Secretary of the Caucasian Bureau Figatner wrote to Kirov that allegedly after the decision of the Caucasian Bureau of 5 July to keep Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan, "many Armenian villages were moved from Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia."80 After receiving this information, Kirov immediately asked Karaev and Mirzoyan (who were in Karabakh) to clarify it.81

Numerous facts, however, spoke of the opposite: A. Karakozov informed the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) that nearly all the Muslims of the Jevanshir Uezd had moved away.82

The national composition of the Caucasian Bureau points to the source of the provocative information and destructive actions: in the early 1920s, out of the total number of 80 members 12 were Georgians, 28 were Armenians, 25 were Russians, 13 belonged to other nationalities, and 2 were Azeris.8

83

Joseph Stalin: "They Say That Fonstein, a Native of Karabakh, Represents it in the Central Executive Committee of Azerbaijan"

On 26 September, 1921, the Politburo and Orgburo of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) discussed the so-called Karabakh File. It was decided to ask the Caucasian Bureau to review the Nagorno-Karabakh Issue once more and to postpone its autonomy.

Narimanov and Buniatzade, on the other hand, were convinced that Nagorno-Karabakh should immediately be granted its autonomy.

A commission (Karaev, Efendiev, Stukalov, and Mirzoyan) was set up to collect the materials related to the Karabakh File; it was expected to depart for Karabakh immediately after the session of the CEC of Azerbaijan. The commission was entrusted with the task of supervising party and Soviet work in the region.84

On 6 October, the Orgburo of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) discussed the issue once more (without Narimanov) to obtain results as promptly as possible and instructed all the members of the commission (with the exception of Stukalov) to leave for Karabakh no later than 9 October. The Council of People's Commissars of Azerbaijan instructed People's Commissar for Finances Tagiev to give the commission 1 billion rubles for 4 uezds of Karabakh; People's Commissar for Internal Affairs Bagi-rov was instructed to appoint responsible persons to escort the commission; People's Commissar for

80 Information supplied by Secretary of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.) Figatner to Kirov. August 1921, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 129, f. 107, sheet 58.

81 S. Kirov's inquiry to A. Karaev and L. Mirzoyan. August 1921, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 129, f. 107, sheet 58.

82 A. Karakozov's telegram to the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.). 19.06.1920, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 1, f. 126, sheet 11.

83 Secret report of the Transcaucasian Territorial Committee of the R.C.P. 16.08.1923, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 85, f. 340, sheet 248.

84 Protocol No. 30 of a meeting of the Politburo and Orgburo of the C.C. Az.C.P. 29.09.1921, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 2, f. 18, sheet 158rev.

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Military and Naval Affairs G. Karaev had to supply 500 sets of uniforms for the Karabakh militia and 3 kg of quinine.85

On 21 October, after studying the situation in Karabakh, the commission, along with the Orgburo of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.), gathered the executives, both Azeris and Armenians, for a conference in Shusha, Javanshir, Gubadli, and Karyagino which, after listening to A. Karaev's report and arguing for many hours, decided that Nagorno-Karabakh should become an autonomous region.86

On 24 October, the Orgburo of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) discussed the commission's report about its trip to Karabakh and the conference documents and instructed the State Political Administration of Azerbaijan to try harder to fight gangsters in Karabakh and find, in the shortest time possible, 1.5 billion rubles for four uezds to build Soviet and party work there from scratch. The People's Commissariat for Land was instructed to dispatch commissions to Karabakh empowered to deal with land disputes.

A. Babaev replaced Sh. Makhmudbekov as Chairman of the Shusha Uezd Executive Committee, which can be described as the first step toward normalization in Karabakh.

A commission of officials of the People's Commissariats for Land, the Navy, and Internal Affairs was set up to delimitate the borders of the autonomous part of Karabakh.87 Strange as it may seem, this happened three days after the conference attended by the members of the Orgburo and a large number of Karabakh executives had ruled that an autonomous status for Nagorno-Karabakh was inexpedient.

The decision of the Caucasian Bureau on an autonomous status for the mountainous part of Karabakh forced the Center to closely follow the relevant developments. In a letter to Sergey Kirov, First Secretary of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.), dated 22 May, 1922, Stalin wrote the following with a great deal of sarcasm: "They say that Fonstein, a native of Karabakh, represents it in the Central Executive Committee of Azerbaijan."88

In his letter dated 18 June, Kirov explained to Stalin that he had been deluded and listed both the members (Akhmedov, Arzanyan, Alekperov, Mamedkhanov, Mirzabekyants, and Ildrym) and candidate members (Hajibeyli, Avetisov, Khanbudagov, and Gajiev) who represented Karabakh at the CEC. In the same letter, he informed Stalin that Mirzabekyan had been transferred to the post of commissar in the Council of People's Commissars of Azerbaijan.89

At the same time, the Center was playing into the hands of the Armenians; it tried to prevent subordination of the party organization of Karabakh to the Communist Party of Azerbaijan. On 1 August, 1922, however, Kirov and Matyushin, who headed the organizational department of C.C. Az.C.P. (B.), telegraphed to Moscow: "The territory of Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan, while its party organization is part of the Az.C.P."90

Personnel Policy in Karabakh: More Armenians are Brought In

Kirov and Orjonikidze broke the lull which followed the decision of 5 July, 1921. They initiated a meeting of the Presidium of the Transcaucasian Territorial Committee (TCTC) of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.)

! Protocol of a meeting of the Orgburo of the C.C. Az.C.P., 06.10.1921, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 74, f. 125, sheet 9.

85

86 Protocol of a sitting of a joint conference of the executives of Karabakh (Shusha, Javanshir, Gubadli, and Karyagino) and members of the Orgburo of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.). 21.10.1921, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 2, f. 74, sheets 23-23rev.

87 Protocol No. 20 of the meeting of the Orgburo of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.). 24.10. 1921, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 2, f. 15, sheets 15 rev.-16.

88 Stalin's letter about the situation in the Communist Party of Azerbaijan and the representative of Karabakh in the CEC of Azerbaijan. 22.05.1922, RGASPI, rec. gr. 558, inv. 11, f. 746, sheet 1.

89 S. Kirov's confidential letter to Stalin. 18.06.1922, RGASPI, rec. gr. 558, inv. 11, f. 746, sheet 2.

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90 Telegram sent by Kirov and Matyushin to the C.C. R.C.P. (B.). 01.08.1922, RGASPI, rec. gr. 80, inv. 25, f. 2, sheet 1.

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held on 27 October, 1922, at which the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.), acting upon instructions, implemented the Caucasian Bureau's decision of 5 July. The same meeting appointed Armenak Karakozov as chairman of the Executive Committee of Karabakh; another important post in Karabakh went to S. Sha-dunts, whom Armenia placed at the disposal of the C.C. Az.C.P.91

Three days later the leaders of the C.C. of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan, in execution of the decision of the Presidium of the TCTC, discussed the question of the Autonomy of Nagorno-Karabakh and set up a commission chaired by Agamalyoglu, with Karakozov and Sviridov as members.92

In November 1922, on the instructions of the C.C. of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan, Mirzoyan and Karaev were sent to Shusha to organize a conference of chairmen of village Soviets and secretaries of party organizations of the mountainous part of Karabakh.

After three days of discussions, the conference ruled that Nagorno-Karabakh should remain part of Azerbaijan.93

On 14 December, 1922, the TCTC brushed aside all the objections to setting up a committee on Nagorno-Karabakh; the next day, the Communist faction of the CEC of Azerbaijan and the Presidium of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) discussed the TCTC decision on Karabakh. A central commission was set up with Kirov, Mirzabekyants, and Karakozov as members; the same sitting set up a committee of 7 members with Karakozov as chairman.

The committee consisted of chairmen of the executive committees of the Shusha, Jebrail, and Javanshir uezds; Karakozov and the Secretariat suggested three more members (Shadunts, Tavaka-lyan, and Parzyan) to be approved by the Presidium.94

The Presidium instructed the CEC and the CPC to publish, within the next seven days, a decree on setting up a commission on Nagorno-Karabakh and a committee with the right to communicate independently with the Center.95 On 17 December, the Presidium of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) set up a committee on Nagorno-Karabakh, with Mamedkhanov, Agazade, Tavakalyan, Parzyan, and Sha-dunts as members.

The TCTC was requested to free Papazyan from his duties as secretary of the CPC of Armenia and Fanakolyants from his duties as secretary of the Zangezur Uezd Committee to enable them to assume their new duties as members of the committee on Nagorno-Karabakh. M. Bagirov was instructed to urgently approve the committee's candidates with the CPC; Karakozov was asked to urgently present his estimates of future expenditures to the evening session of the Council. Strange as it may seem, the same evening, Karakozov was given a two-week leave of absence to visit Erivan.96

On the whole, in the fall of 1922, the Armenians who filled high posts in Karabakh began intensifying their contacts with Armenia. On the other hand, in the early 1920s, certain Armenians who fought openly or behind the scenes to detach Karabakh from Azerbaijan were invited, one after another, to move first to Baku and then to high posts in Karabakh.

In the first days of 1923, Sergey Kirov, Secretary of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.), asked TCTC head Myasnikov to ask the C.C. of the Communist Party of Armenia to send Tavakelyan and Manutsyan to Baku so that they could promptly join Karakozov in Shusha.97

91 See: K istorii obrazovania Nagorno-Karabakhskoy avtonomnoy oblasti Azerbaidzhanskoy SSR. Dokumenty i ma-terialy, p. 127.

92 Decision of the Presidium of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.). 30.10. 1922, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 74, f. 129, sheet 40.

93 See: Pravda o Nagornom Karabakhe, p. 32.

94 Decision of CEC and CPC of Azerbaijan "On Nagorno-Karabakh." December 1922, GA AR, rec. gr. 411, inv. 1, f. 48, sheet 201.

95 Protocol No. 56 of the joint sitting of the Presidium of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) and the Communist faction in the CEC of Azerbaijan. 15.12.1922, GA AR, rec. gr. 379, inv. 3, f. 58, sheets 175-175rev.

96 Protocol No. 57 of the meeting of the Presidium of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.). 17.12. 1922, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 169, f. 249/II, sheet 28.

97 S. Kirov's telegram to the TCTC of the C.C. R.C.P. and A. Myasnikov. 1923, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 85, f. 316, sheet 155.

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On 23 January, 1923, Kirov, this time with Karakozov, asked A. Ionisyan, Secretary of the C.C. of the Communist Party of Armenia, to send Tavakelyan, Akopyan, Aydynyan, Vartanyan, Akhtyn-sky, and Manutsyan to Karabakh.98 A week later, Kirov sent a similar telegram to Myasnikov accompanied with the following words: "Without more people, it is impossible to organize proper work in Karabakh."99

It should be said that, in May 1921, Armenia appointed Akop Ionisyan as its representative in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The list was obviously compiled by Ionisyan and Karakozov during his two weeks in Erivan.

This meant that from the very first days of 1923 the trend toward greater reliance on the party and Soviet officials from Armenia who, one after another, received high posts in Karabakh became obvious; this tipped the balance in favor of the Armenians.

After a while, the Armenians entrenched themselves in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Decision of the CEC of Azerbaijan: "An Autonomous Karabakh Region Should Be Set Up in Upper Karabakh with its Center in Khankendi"

On 20 May, 1923, the Karabakh Committee the TCTC set up late in 1922 was ready with its Draft for Settlement of the Karabakh Issue. On 20 June, the draft was transferred to the Presidium of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) for further discussion. The authors wrote that the mountainous and valley parts of Karabakh were two economically mutually complementary parts and that the Armenian bias of Nagorno-Karabakh was caused by the absence of qualified Turkic specialists able to achieve better results.

The draft went on to say that "the Center, which concentrates the largest and best part of its people on the oil front, mainly in Baku and its environs, created a vast shortage of Muslim forces. For three years, there was not a single hint at more or less consistent efforts in administration, education, the use of land, transport, cooperation, trade, etc., since the larger part of Karabakh is geographically completely isolated from the Center; the interests and rights of the minority should be observed," which meant that Karabakh needed administrative reforms.100

The meeting was chaired by Sergey Kirov; Inozemtsev served as its secretary; it was attended by Khanbudagov, Karaev, Mirzoyan, Bagirov, Vareykis, Chagin, Konyushkin, Gasymov, Rakh-manov, Mashkevich, and others. After discussing the issue in detail, the meeting passed the following decision:

(a) Karabakh, both its mountainous and valley parts, should become a single administrative unit;

(b) a commission chaired by Karaev, with Bagirov, Dovletov, Mirzoyan, and Khanbudagov, as its members should study (within three days) the question in the minutest detail and present a draft decision to the Presidium of the C.C. for approval;

98 Telegram of S. Kirov and A. Karakozov to A. Ionisyan, Secretary of the C.C. C.P. of Armenia. 22.01.1923, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 85, f. 316, sheet 155.

99 S. Kirov's telegram to the TCTC of the C.C. R.C.P. and A. Myasnikov. 30.01.1923, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 85, f. 316, sheet 153.

100 How to Deal with the Karabakh Issue Project. 20.05.1923, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 74, f. 132, sheets 113-114.

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(c) A. Karakozov and Kh. Shadunts should attend the meeting of the TCTC to discuss the Ka-rabakh issue;

(d) E. Khanbudagov's separate opinion should be registered in the protocol.101

The document went on to say that "the Karabakh problem should be ultimately resolved by implementing the decisions of the May (1920) Decree of the CPC of Azerbaijan on making Nagorno-Karabakh an administrative unit in its own right. No other solution can meet the demands of the national minority of Karabakh. If this problem is resolved in any other way, we will be doomed to discuss it again and again."102 At this time, the decision of the 9th Congress of the Armenian peasants dated 29 April, 1920 was sent to Moscow where the Armenian delegation holding secret talks about the unification of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia was supposed to pass it on to the Russian government. The document, however, was ignored.

Careful examination of the relevant documents revealed that the CPC of Azerbaijan did not issue this decree in May 1920; if issued at all, it might have been dated May 1921 when, on 23 May, the plenum of the C.C. of the Communist Party of Armenia appointed A. Ionisyan as Armenian representative in Nagorno-Karabakh. This "misunderstanding" should have triggered a negative response from Azerbaijan, which never happened, while the issue was discussed (strictly confidentially) on 3 June by the plenary session of the Caucasian Bureau. This explains why the May 1921 decree on Karabakh is not listed among the other decrees of the CPC of Azerbaijan.

The decision of the Presidium of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) of 20 June to unite the mountainous and valley parts into a single administrative unit was approved in June 1923 by a TCTC plenary session. On 1 July, 1923, a meeting of the Presidium of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) suggested that the autonomy of Nagorno-Karabakh, with its center in Khankendi, should be registered in a decree saying that all issues on Nagorno-Karabakh, including border matters, would be dealt with by a special commission. There were plans to set up an executive committee, which required a revolutionary committee of five members headed by Karakozov and a regional party committee of 5 headed by Manutsyan.

The border issues were entrusted to a commission headed by A. Karaev, with Karakozov, Sviri-dov, Ildrym, and Buniatzade serving as its members, which was expected to present its suggestions to the C.C. Presidium within seven days.103

On 4 July, the CEC Presidium confirmed the commission's suggestions. The first paragraph of the document said: "The autonomous Karabakh region should be set up in Upper Karabakh with its center in Khankendi."104

On 7 July, 1923, the Central Executive Committee of Azerbaijan crowned three years of preparatory work with a decree on setting up the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region (NKAR) as part of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The decree signed by Deputy Chairman of the CEC of Azerbaijan M. Gasymov and CEC Secretary M. Khanbudagov105 said in particular that "the workers' and

101 Protocol No. 20 of the meeting of the Presidium of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.). 20.06.1923, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 74, f. 132, sheet 110.

102 E. Khanbudagov's special opinion on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. 20.06.1923, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 74, f. 132, sheet 115.

103 Protocol No. 20 of the meeting of the Presidium of the C.C. Az.C.P. 01.07.1923, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 74, f. 132, sheet 145rev.

104 Extract from Protocol No. 14 of the meeting of the Presidium of the CEC of Azerbaijan. 04.07.1923. APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 74, f. 129, sheet 38.

105 The authors of Karabakh: Real History. Facts. Documents Ya. Makhmudov and K. Shukurov translated into many languages confused Makhmud Faraj ogly Khanbudagov (1898-1937), who between August 1922 and December 1923 was Secretary of the CEC of Azerbaijan, and Eyyub Shirin oglu Khanbudagov (1893-1937), who in 1922-1924 was Secretary of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B). They wrote that the Decree on Setting up the Autonomous Region of Nagorno-Karabakh had been signed by E.Sh. Khanbudagov (should be Makhmud Khanbudagov) (see: Ya. Makhmudov, K. Shuku-rov, Karabakh: Real History. Facts. Documents, Baku, 2005, p. 64, in Azeri). In December 1923, Makhmud Khanbud-agov was sent to Moscow to study at the Moscow Socialist Academy. In 1926, after completing the course, he returned to

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peasant revolution and Soviet power see it as their task to eliminate all forms of national oppression and inequality and replace national enmity and hatred with international solidarity of the working people and fraternal cooperation of peoples in a single state union. To fulfill this task, the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets of Azerbaijan rules that 'an autonomous region should be established in the Armenian part of Nagorno-Karabakh as a component of the A.S.S.R. with its center in the Khankendi settlement.'"106

Bashir Buniyatov: "All the Muslims of Karabakh See Me as a Traitor"

Two weeks later, a joint meeting of the Presidium of CEC and CPC of Azerbaijan endorsed the names of those who would work in the revolutionary committee: Karakozov (Chairman); Buniyatov, Kostonyan, Kafiev (Kafiyan), and Chalyan.107 Karakozov, Buniyatov, Chalyan, Vareykis, and Ma-nutsyan were entrusted with the task of drafting a Statute for the NKAR; Karakozov was instructed to organize the work and complete it in seven days.108

Buniyatov was the only Azeri among the five members of the newly established revolutionary committee; his contribution could be described as mainly formal. In January 1923, he was appointed as chairman of the Shusha Uezd Executive Committee. Several months later, in September, being keenly aware of the ambiguity of his position, he asked Kirov to rescue him from moral death by relieving him from his post when the situation in the region improved, which would make his continued services unnecessary. "All the Muslims of Karabakh see me as a traitor," he wrote.109

The urban population of Shusha was dead set against autonomy for the mountainous part of Karabakh; early in 1923, after Buniyatov's address at a meeting of the people of Shusha, they sent a delegation to Baku to inform the Center that the autonomy of Karabakh should be radically revised. S. Kirov panicked and demanded "urgent explanations" from Karakozov and Buniyatov.110

The Agdam, Jebrail, and Kurdistan uezds were set up in the territories beyond the borders of the new autonomous region.111

The idea of a "Kurdish autonomy" bordering on the NKAR was born in the border commission on the day the decree of the CEC of Azerbaijan was published.112 On 16 July, the meeting of the Presidium of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) abandoned the idea and set up a Kurdistan Uezd instead; on 21 July, this was approved by the CEC and CPC of Azerbaijan.113

Baku where he filled different posts. In 1936, he was arrested as an active counterrevolutionary and Trotskyite (see: Personal file of Makhmud Khanbudagov, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 8, f. 5593, sheet 1; Information supplied by Deputy People's Commissar for Internal Affairs of the T.S.F.S.R. Stepanov to TCTC Secretary L. Beria. 10.09.1936, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 16, inv. 1, f. 5666, sheet 1).

106 Decree of the CEC of Azerbaijan On Setting up the Autonomous Region of Nagorno-Karabakh. 07.07.1923, GA AR, rec. gr. 379, inv. 3, f. 73, sheet 135.

107 Protocol No. 15 of a joint sitting of the Presidium of the CEC of Azerbaijan and the CPC 21.07.1923, GA AR, rec. gr. 379, inv. 3, f. 67, sheet 63.

108 Ibidem.

109 B. Buniyatov's letter to S. Kirov. September 1923, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 74, f. 123, sheet 163.

110 S. Kirov's telegram to A. Karakozov and B. Buniyatov. 1923, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 85, f. 329, sheet 42.

111 Document "On the History of Setting up the Autonomy of Nagorno-Karabakh," APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 169, f. 249/I, sheet 41.

112 Protocol of a meeting of the commission for delimitating autonomous Karabakh and Kurdistan. 07.07.1923, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 74, f. 132, sheet 170.

113 Decree of the CEC of Azerbaijan on setting up the Kurdistan Uezd. 21.07.1923, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 125, f. 303, sheet 33.

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The population census of 1937 (the first one to be conducted in the Soviet Union, the results of which were annulled for political reasons) revealed that there were 10,878 Kurds in Azerbaijan and 22,313 Kurds in Armenia.114

How Khankendi Became the Center of the Autonomous Region of Nagorno-Karabakh

A careful examination of the decree of the CEC of Azerbaijan will reveal a discrepancy between it and the decision of the Caucasian Bureau of 5 July. The decision said that broad autonomy was granted to the region, with its administrative center in Shusha.115 The decree, on the other hand, said that "an autonomous region should be established in the Armenian part of Nagorno-Karabakh as a component of the A.S.S.R. with its center in the Khankendi settlement."116

Why did this happen? On 7 July, the day the CEC Decree was published, Shusha did not belong to the region. Two weeks later, however, on 21 July, 1923, the joint meeting of the Presidium of the CEC and CPC of Azerbaijan, after listening to D. Buniatzade's report on the Karabakh issue, passed a decision of eight points which said in particular that:

"(a) the plundered Russian villages of the Skobelev Society should be included in the territory of autonomous Karabakh;

"(b) the city of Shusha should be included in the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region."117

On the other hand, Shusha was the only city in the territory of the newly formed autonomous region with a predominantly Azeri population. This explains why the Armenians preferred the Khankendi settlement as the regional center (in the past its population had been predominantly Muslim, whereas by the time the NKAR was set up, it was registered as a small Turkic settlement). The Armenians obviously feared that the Azeri population of Shusha would establish its control over the power structures.

The settlement status of a very small village was prompted by the far-reaching plans to transform it into a "capital."

In July 1920, the idea of turning Khankendi into a regional center began gaining momentum to develop, by the fall of 1922, into practical measures. The Armenian (mainly Dashnak) committee of Nagorno-Karabakh set up back in April 1920 was transformed, with ease, into an uezd committee of the Communist Party of Armenia.118

On 11 July, its chairman, S. Ambartsumyan, and one of the officials informed the C.C. of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan that they were carrying out party work separately from their Muslim comrades (because they knew next to nothing about how to work in the Muslim milieu). They pointed out in the same report that "the confusion in the party threatens to destroy all the organizational efforts in Karabakh. We need a center in Khankendi that will geographically and economically join all the districts of Karabakh."119

114 See: Vsesoyuznaya perepis naselenia 1937 goda: obshchie itogi. sbornik dokumentov i materialov, Moscow, 2007, pp. 107-108.

115 Protocol No. 12 of the plenary session of the Caucasian Bureau of the C.C. R.C.P. (B.). 05.07.1921, RGASPI, rec. gr. 64, inv. 1, f. 1, sheet 122.

116 Decree of the CEC of Azerbaijan On Setting up the Autonomous Region of Nagorno-Karabakh. 07.07.1923, GA AR, rec. gr. 379, inv. 3, f. 73, sheet 135.

117 Protocol No. 15 of a joint sitting of the Presidium of the CEC of Azerbaijan and the Council of People's Commissars of the A.S.S.R. 21.07.1923, GA AR, rec. gr. 379, inv. 3, f. 67, sheet 63.

118 See: Report of A. Atatev in the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.). 31.10. 1920. APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 1, f. 81, sheet 35rev.

119 Report of members of the Karabakh Uezd Committee in the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.). 11.07.1920. APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 1, f. 126, sheet 20.

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During the first months of Soviet power, all sorts of Armenian organizations had obviously selected Khankendi as the regional center. In December 1922, the Communist faction of the CEC and C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) approved the members of the Karabakh Committee which was entrusted, among other things, with the task of opening a school and a hospital in Khankendi.120

This makes us wonder what the Azeri population of Shusha thought about this? On 9 August, 1923, the CEC of Azerbaijan received a letter written by empowered representatives of the population of Shusha R. Aliev, I. Musaev, B. Sarabi, and G. Shamshiev on behalf of the people of Shusha. It said that "for many years (over a century), Karabakh and all the other parts of Czarist Russia suffered under the yoke of Russian militarism" and protested against the newly established NKAR and the inclusion of the city of Shusha and the nearest Muslim villages in it.

The authors asked the authorities to take into account that "the population of the city of Shusha and the nearest Muslim villages . believes it expedient to let it be known that they are closely connected in this respect and economically with the population of the newly founded Kurdistan Uezd. They empowered us to ask for the city and the nearest villages to be joined to this uezd. On the strength of the above and being convinced that the Soviet government will never ignore the interests of the local people and will always satisfy their justified requests, we ask you to satisfy the requests of the people of Shusha and the nearest villages and join them to the Kurdistan Uezd."

The empowered representatives concluded the letter with the following: "If for state or other considerations it is impossible to satisfy our request, we ask you to preserve the city of Shusha as the center of Nagorno-Karabakh and not to transfer the center to Khankendi."121

As soon as the Armenian leaders of the autonomous region learned about the letter, they telegraphed Sergey Kirov to dismiss it as a provocation. Secretary of the Shusha Uezd Executive Committee S. Manutsyan wrote that it proved beyond a doubt that the traders were merely concerned about losing their profits if Shusha stopped being the uezd center.122

The people in Shusha refused to succumb to the pressure of the Armenian leaders and went on with their attempts to move out of the autonomous region. On 4 January, 1924, plenipotentiary representatives of the Shusha population M. Mirbagirov and A. Guliev sent a telegram to the Congress of the Soviets of the Transcaucasus (copies were sent to Kirov, Bagirov, and Orjonikidze) to demand, on behalf of the multi-thousand population of Shusha, that the city be made part of the Kurdistan Uezd.123

On 17 April, 1924, under pressure from the Azeri population of the city, the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) instructed the Karabakh Regional Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan to set up an administrative unit based on Shusha and the nearest Turkic villages.124

Mir Jafar Bagirov's Memo (1923)

The last, fifth, point of the decree of the CEC of Azerbaijan on setting up the NKAR suggested that a mixed commission of representatives of Nagorno-Karabakh, Lower Karabakh, Kurdistan, and the central government of the A.S.S.R. should be set up to draft a Statute for the region, transfer the

120 Protocol No. 56 of a joint sitting of the Communist faction of the CEC of Azerbaijan and the Presidium of the C.C. Az.C.P. 15.12.1922, GA AR, rec. gr. 379, inv. 3, f. 58, sheet 175rev.

121 Statement of the plenipotentiary representatives of the city of Shusha R. Aliev, I. Musaev, B. Sarabi and G. Shamshiev at the CEC of Azerbaijan. 09.08.1923, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 85, f. 329, sheets 38-39.

122 S. Manutsyan's telegram to S. Kirov. 03.08.1923, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 85, f. 329, sheet 3.

123 Telegram of M. Mirbagirov and A. Guliev to the Congress of the Soviets of the Transcaucasus. Copies to S. Kirov, M.J. Bagirov and G. Orjonikidze. 04.01.1924. RGASPI, rec. gr. 85, inv. 24, f. 728, sheet 1.

124 Extract from a protocol of the sitting of the Presidium of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.). 17.04.1924, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 174, f. 136, sheet 41.

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administrative units to the autonomous region, and draw its borders. The job should be completed before 15 August.125

On 14 July, 1923, the Presidium of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) discussed the need to draft a Statute to provide legal substantiation of the creation of the NKAR; it set up a commission consisting of A. Karakozov, Ch. Ildrym, M. Khanbudagov, M. Chalyan, and S. Manutsyan with D. Buniatzade as its chairman (because A. Karaev could not take part in the commission).

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The commission had to work hard to be able to present the draft Statute in the shortest time possible to the Presidium of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) for approval.126

On 23 July, the Presidium discussed the issue once more and made several insignificant amendments to the draft Statute. The Committee for Nagorno-Karabakh was liquidated and its property was transferred to the Revolutionary Committee of the autonomous region.127

Late in July, the Council of People's Commissars of Azerbaijan issued 8 thousand chervontsy (10-ruble banknotes in use in the Soviet Union in 1922-1947), 5 thousand poods (a pood—Russian measure of weight = 16.38 kg) of kerosene, building materials, and 10 thousand arshins (an arshin— Russian unit of length = 28 inches) of cloth totaling 15 thousand gold rubles to the NKAR.128

Late in July 1923, the Statute commission gathered for a more extensive sitting to discuss the Statute based on the 1923 Statute of the gubernia executive committees.

An autonomous region was set up for the local Armenians but it was decided to include the numerous Turkic villages of Karabakh in it. The majority (with three members abstaining) voted to include Shusha and the Khonashen village in Lower Karabakh.

Karakozov insisted that both the city and the village should remain within Upper Karabakh; his opinion, supported by the Commission chairman, outweighed the votes of six highly placed Azeri officials. The meeting agreed on the form of administration and the administrative division of Lower Karabakh and Kurdistan.129

A year later, on 5 June, 1924, the commission which delimitated the Agdam Uezd and the NKAR decided that the Khonashen lands and, in particular, the village of Kuropatkino should remain within the NKAR, according to the decision of the CEC of Azerbaijan of 6 August 1923; in 1924 the Avshars were allowed to bring in the harvest from their land.130

On 20 August, the Presidium of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) and, on 5 September, the C.C. Secretariat dispatched E. Khanbudagov, I. Dovlatov, and M.J. Bagirov to Karabakh to study the situation, talk to the people, and sort out the conflict between the Muslim village of Kolany and the Armenian settlement of Sarov.

On 8 October, the Presidium discussed the results and ruled that:

1. The People's Commissariat for Land should be instructed to supply Nagorno-Karabakh with free timber.

2. The Council of People's Deputies should be instructed to discuss the possibility of increasing the grain quota for Nagorno-Karabakh in the form of debt; speed up financing of the electric power project in Khankendi; and extend urgent help to the starving population of Nagorno-Karabakh.

125 Decree of the CEC of Azerbaijan On Setting up the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region. 07.07.1923, GA AR, rec. gr. 379, inv. 3, f. 73, sheet 136.

126 Protocol No. 26 of a meeting of the Presidium of the CEC of Azerbaijan. 14.07.1923. APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 74, f. 132, sheet 157.

127 Protocol No. 27 of a meeting of the Presidium of the CEC of Azerbaijan. 23.07.1923, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 74, f. 132, sheet 173.

128 Bakinsky rabochy, 30 July, 1923.

129 Protocol No. 1 of a meeting of the Commission for drafting a Statute for the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region. July 1923, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 169, f. 249/I, psheet 63-65.

130 Protocol of a meeting of the Commission set up to clarify the border issues between the Agdam Uezd and NKAR. 05.06.1924, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 74, f. 137, sheet 59.

THE CAUCASUS & GLOBALIZATION

3. Karakozov and the People's Commissariat for Land should be instructed to look into the use of land.

4. The People's Commissariat for Health should be instructed to open a medical post in Khan-kendi (not at the expense of the Agdam and Terter medical posts).

5. The Karabakh Regional Committee and the Regional Revolutionary Committee should be instructed to study the borders of the Kurdistan Uezd in the vicinity of Kaladarasi to include the Kurdish villages in the Kurdistan Uezd.131

It should be said that information relating to Point Five of the decision could be found in the extensive memo supplied by Bagirov, which summed up the results of his mission and said, in particular, that the population of Shusha (numbering 10 thousand) wanted to join the Kurdistan Uezd.

Bagirov believed that Shusha (with its Muslim population) should be united with the Kurdistan Uezd to become its center and that it was wrong to make the city part of Nagorno-Karabakh. In his report he noted: "There are several Muslim villages (Khalfali, Zaristy, Musulmanlar, and several others with a total population of up to 8 thousand) in the vicinity of Khan-Kendi, Shusha, and Abdalar. It is much easier to manage them from Abdalar than from Khan-Kendi because there are small Kara-Darasi settlements with about 1,150 Armenians along with the Muslim villages. For some reason, however, the entire area was joined to Khan-Kendi."132

Bagirov (one of those entrusted with sorting out the conflict between Kolany and Sarov) wrote that, during the confusion in the Jevanshir Uezd, the Muslims of Kolany captured the Armenian village of Sarov on instructions from the Center. Later they abandoned the captured territory and returned to their villages. The Sarov Armenians, wrote Bagirov, should have pulled out of the land captured from the Kolany Muslims. He went on to say that "because of the criminal attitude of some of our officials to the matter, instead of retreating to their village, some of the Sarov people remained on the Kolany's land, while others moved to Sarov. This means that 5 thousand Kolany people have nowhere to go. I should say that the Kolany people are the most troublesome in Karabakh; so far they remain silent because they expect a fair decision from the government."133

Bagirov also touched upon more serious matters by saying: "From time immemorial, Muslims from the village of Khojali, the residents of Muganli, etc. have been coexisting with Armenians along the road between Agdam and Karyagino in the Khanabad area. During the massacre, these villages, both Armenian and Muslim, were plundered, while the villagers scattered. Recently, they returned only to discover than an ugly mistake had been made. Under the new delimitation of land, a Muslim cemetery was transferred to the Armenians; today Armenians from faraway regions who have nothing to do with these places work on the land of Muslims who are still waiting for a final settlement."134

Nariman Narimanov: "Under Mirzoyan's Strong Pressure Nagorno-Karabakh was Made an Autonomous Region"

The decision of the CEC of Azerbaijan of 7 July did not alleviate the mass discontent. In November 1924, the final draft of the Statute for the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region, a product

131 Protocol No. 40 of a meeting of the Presidium of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.). 08.10. 1923, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 169, f. 291/I, sheet 51.

132 Memo on the State of Affairs in Karabakh of member of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.) M.J. Bagirov to the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.). 1923, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 74, f. 134, sheets 7-8.

133 Ibid., sheet 7rev.

134 Ibid., sheet 8rev.

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of prolonged discussions edited by Bagirov, Aliev, and Karakozov, was transferred to the 4th session of the plenary session of CEC of Azerbaijan (second convocation).

CEC Secretary M. Khanbudagov summed up the draft; it was decided to offer it to the CEC Presidium for further consideration.

The same month, the Statute was published in the press. Article One confirmed that "the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region is part of the Azerbaijan S.S.R.;" Article Two said that "clerical work shall be conducted in the native language;" and Article Three ruled that "the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region shall be proportionally represented in the republican structures of Azerbaijan."135

The Statute ruled that government and public institutions and organizations should use Armenian when dealing with the Armenians and the Turkic (Azeri) language when dealing with the Turkic minority.136 The Azeris found themselves a national minority in their own country.

In July 1923, 169 villages of the Shusha, Jevanshir, and Gubadli uezds were included in the NKAR at the commission's suggestion; the text published on 26 November, 1924 enumerated 198 settlements.137

The autonomy received 115 villages of 16 village communities in the Shusha Uezd, along with the city and Khankendi; 52 villages of 6 village communities of the Jevanshir Uezd; 30 villages of 3 village communities of the Karyagino Uezd; and the Galaderesi village community of the Gubadli Uezd.138

In 1923, the NKAR covered a territory of 4,160.5 sq. km; ten years later it was 4,431.7 sq. km.139

At no time were the Armenians satisfied with the concessions of the Azerbaijan S.S.R.

Karakozov wrote to Kirov that the Collegium of the People's Commissariat for Justice had established a Supreme Court for Nakhchivan, while there was no similar court in Nagorno-Karabakh despite a corresponding decree of the CEC of Azerbaijan, and described this omission as politically untenable. On the other hand, according to its Constitution, Karabakh as an autonomous region did not differ from Nakhchivan, which meant that the decisions relating to it should equally apply to Karabakh.140

On 1 August, 1923, the smaller Presidium of the CEC of Azerbaijan recommended that the Presidium treat Pirijan as the center of the Kurdistan Uezd and the city of Agdam as the center of the Agdam Uezd, while the center of the Jebrail Uezd should be moved from Karyagino to Je-

brail.141

On 6 August, the Presidium of the CEC of Azerbaijan approved the administrative-territorial division of the Agdam Uezd with its center in Agdam, the Jebrail Uezd with its center in Jebrail, and the Kurdistan Uezd with its center in Pirijan.142

On 18 September, 1923, the Regional Party Committee of Karabakh met under the chairmanship of Manutsyan (Ter-Zakharov served as the secretary) to discuss renaming the city of Khankendi. After a short discussion it was decided "to change the name of the city of Khankendi to Stepanakert

135 The Statute of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region. 1924, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 74, f. 137, sheet 98.

136 The Statute of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region. 1924, GA AR, rec. gr. 379, inv. 3, f. 1733, sheet

12rev.

137 For more information see: A. Pashaev, Tracing down Undisclosed Information, Baku, 2001, p. 342 (in Azeri).

138 The decision of the CEC of Azerbaijan on the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region. 1924, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 169, f. 249/II, sheets 33-34.

139 See: Ot Mayendorfa do Astany. Printsipialnye aspekty armyano-azerbaidzhanskogo nagono-karabakhskogo konflikta, Moscow, 2010, p. 42.

140 A. Karakozov's letter to S. Kirov. 1925, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 74, f. 142, sheet 100.

141 Protocol of a sitting of the smaller Presidium of the CEC of Azerbaijan. 01.08.1923, GA AR, rec. gr. 379, inv. 2, f. 3082, sheet 47.

142 Order of the CEC of Soviets of Azerbaijan. 06.08.1923, GA AR, rec. gr. 379, inv. 3, f. 89, sheets 1-1rev.

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in commemoration of Stepan Shahumyan and 26 commissars."143 The same day, the CEC of Azerbaijan approved the decision.

The leaders of Azerbaijan tried to present the name as "Stepan kend," and this is how it was written for some time in official documents, but the Armenians finally insisted on the official form of "Stepanakert."144

The leaders of Azerbaijan launched an extensive propaganda campaign in favor of the Karabakh autonomy and did not spare any efforts explaining the developments to the local people.

This is how the struggle over the territorial affiliation of Nagorno-Karabakh which began in the first years of Soviet power in the Transcaucasus ended. In May 1924, at the 6th Congress of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan, Sergey Kirov, who headed Azerbaijan, said the following about the autonomy of Nagorno-Karabakh: "Settlement, even if not final at least considerable, of the so-called Karabakh issue can be described as the most important and the most impressive achievement in this field. This question belongs to those relating to the Transcaucasian Federation."145

On 27 May, 1924, Nariman Narimanov wrote the following to Stalin: "Under Mirzoyan's strong pressure, Nagorno-Karabakh was made an autonomous region. I was not able to accomplish this, not because I was against the autonomy, but because the Armenian peasants themselves did not want this. Meanwhile, Mirzoyan, assisted by the Dashnak teachers, tilled the soil and pushed the decision through the Transcaucasian Territorial Committee."146

He knew that the trouble for Azerbaijan did not stop there; he predicted that the autonomy of Nagorno-Karabakh was the beginning of a future tragedy.

C o n c l u s i o n

To quote Narimanov, the tragedy that began with granting autonomy to Nagorno-Karabakh was rooted in trusting outsiders.

In 1923, "a delayed action bomb with a clock-operated mechanism" was set to snap into action as soon as Soviet Russia pulled out of the Caucasus.

Grigory Orjonikidze's idea formulated in July 1920 of "autonomy for Karabakh and organization of the Armenian population" has passed the test of time to become Russia's lever of control in the region after the Soviet Union disappeared from the world map.

143 K istorii obrazovaniya Nagorno-Karabakhskoy avtonomnoy oblasti Azerbaidzhanskoy SSR. Dokumenty i mate-rialy, pp. 187-188.

144 For more on renaming Khankendi Stepan kend, see: Protocol No. 40 of a meeting of the Presidium of the C.C. Az.C.P. (B.). 08.10.1923, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 74, f. 134, sheet 3; APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 169, f. 249/I, sheet 69.

145 From S.M. Kirov's report at the 6th Congress of the Az.C.P. (B.). 05.05.1924, APD UDP AR, rec. gr. 1, inv. 169, f. 249/II, sheet 4.

146 N. Narimanov, K istorii nashey revolutsii v okrainakh (Pismo I.V. Stalinu), Baku, 1992, p. 59.

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