Settlement of the Armenians in the Azerbaijani Lands
In the beginning of the 19th century (after the signing of the treaties of Gulustan in 1813 and Turkmenchay in 1828 between Iran and Russia on the distribution of the Azerbaijani territories), Czarist Russia began to implement the plan of creating “an Armenian State” in order to create a buffer zone in the ancient Azerbaijani territories. Thinking about the contours of the future empire 300 years ago, the first Russian Emperor Peter I charged his messengers sent to the south: “It is necessary to lure them (the Armenians) to move to our territories for Russia to rely on.”
With this purpose, in the first half of the 19th century, about 300 000 Armenians were moved to Azerbaijani territories from Iran and Turkey and settled in the territories of Irevan, Nagorno-Karabakh, Nakhchivan, Zengezur, Dereleyez, Ordubad, Vedibasar, Artashat and others.
Despite the arrival of the Armenians in the Azerbaijani territories, the native Azerbaijanis formed the majority of population there. For instance, in 1886 in the province of Zengezur of Genje out of 326 villages only 81 were the Armenian villages. In the province of Irevan 66 per cent of the population were Azerbaijanis and 34 percent – Armenians. In order to substantiate the idea that the Armenians formed the majority they began to pursue the policy of genocide against the Azerbaijanis. The Armenians secretly were armed by Czarist Russia and formed military formations.
With assistance and support of the Russian Government the most intensive mass banishment of Azerbaijanis from the territories of current Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, violence over the civil population and brutalities were in the beginning of 20th century, especially in 1905-1907.
Thousands of villages in Azerbaijani provinces like Zengezur, Irevan, Nakhchivan, Ordubad, Gazax and Karabakh were burned and all the population the children to the old were killed.
The events of 1918-1920, the genocide of March
In 1918 the leader of the Russian Bolsheviks Vladimir Lenin appointed Stephan Shaumyan the extraordinary Commissar of the Caucasus and sent him to Baku. The Bolsheviks seized power in Baku and created conditions for the Armenian armed formations to realize their secret purposes. On March 3, began the mass slaughters of the Azerbaijanis. By the acknowledgements of Stephan Shaumyan, 6000 armed soldiers of the Baku Soviet and 4000 armed men from “Dashnaksutyun” party took part in the massacre of the peaceful Azerbaijanis.
During the three days of the massacre, the Armenians attacked the Azerbaijani quarters with the help of the Bolsheviks and killed both children and the elderly. A German by name of Kulner, who had witnessed the horrible events of those days, wrote in 1925: “The Armenians rushed into the Azerbaijani quarters, killed, sabred, bayoneted everybody, and made holes in them. Several days after the massacre 87 corpses of Azerbaijanis excavated from a pit provided evidence that their ears, noses, genitals had been cut and their bodies bayoneted and sabred. The Armenians pitied neither the children, nor the old.”
In general, in two massacres in the Transcaucasus in the first half of the 20th century (1905-1907, 1918-1920) about 2 million Azerbaijanis and Turks were killed, wounded and driven from their homes by the Armenians.
In the March massacre a pit was found in Baku with the corpses of 57 Azerbaijani women with ears and noses cut off and with bellies torn open. There were cases when young women were nailed to the wall, the city hospital where 2000 people had found shelter was burned completely.
The Armenians had installed machine-guns in various places of the city in order to shoot the people trying to escape.
Avanes Apresyan, an Armenian officer, one of the active participants in the massacre of the Azerbaijanis in the provinces of Irevan, Sharur-Dereleyez, Surmeli, Kars and in other territories, in his memoirs titled, “Men were like this”, writes that they achieved their goal with the help of the English and Russians and murdered 25,000 Azerbaijanis in the March massacre only in Baku.
The genocide of the Azerbaijanis by the Dashnaks was not limited to Baku only. Within a brief period of time, the Armenians committed massacres in Shamakhi, Guba, Irevan, Zengezur, Karabakh, Nakhchivan and Kars.
In March-April of 1918 about 8000 civilians were slaughtered in Shamakhi. The majority of the Moslem monuments of culture, including the Friday Mosque of Shamakhi, were set on fire and burnt.
28 villages in the province of Javanshir and 17 villages in the province of Jabrail were completely burned, and the population slaughtered.
On April 29, 1918, a group of refugees, mainly women, children and old people, 3000 in number, encountered an ambush of armed Armenians and all were murdered.
The armed Armenian formations set on fire several villages in the province of Nakhchivan, completely destroyed 115 Azerbaijani villages in the province of Zengezur, 3257 men, 2276 women, and 2196 children were killed. In all, 10,068 Azerbaijanis were murdered and disabled, and 50,000 became refugees in this province.
In the province of Irevan 135.000 Azerbaijani residents of 199 villages were murdered and the villages were completely destroyed. Then the Armenian armed formations attacked Karabakh, and 150 villages in the Nagorno-Karabakh were destroyed and the population of these villages was ruthlessly murdered (materials of the Extraordinary Investigation Commission, the government of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic).
In May 1920, over 12,000 Azerbaijanis were murdered in Genje by the Armenians, along with the XI Red Army of the Soviets.
The deportation of Azerbaijanis from Armenia in 1948-1953
In 1943 at the Teheran Conference when Soviet-Iranian relations were discussed, the Armenian Diaspora asked the Soviet Foreign Minister V.Molatov to allow the migration of Iranian Armenians to the Soviet Union. V.Molatov conveyed the request to I.Stalin in Teheran, and he gave his consent. Taking this opportunity G.Arutyunov, the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia, managed to get the resolution of the Central government (I.Stalin) for the compulsory deportation of Azerbaijanis from Armenia in connection with the migration of the Armenians from Iran.
On December 23, 1947, the Council of Ministers of the USSR adopted a resolution “On the deportation of the Azerbaijani collective formers and other Azerbaijani population from Armenia to the Arax-Kura valley of Azerbaijan.”
In the deportation of Azerbaijanis in 1948-1953, by the sanction of I. Stalin, the Armenians paid attention to the deportation of Azerbaijanis from economically, socially, and culturally strong settlements. Therefore, in the first place they drove out the population from the settlements near Yerevan, then from the district centers and close villages and settlements.
Being the inhabitants of high lands, a part of the deported Azerbaijanis could hardly acclimate in the lowlands of the Arax-Kura valley. Therefore, tens of thousands of the deported Azerbaijanis died there.
On the other hand, not a single Azerbaijani was settled in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. On the contrary, to implement the creation of “Greater Armenia”, they continued to clear this territory from the Azerbaijanis. Under the pretext of internal displacement, they moved 132 families (549 people) from the Nagorno-Karabakh to the Khanlar district of Azerbaijan in 1949.
At the same time, they began to merge the administrative districts, to change the names of the Azerbaijanis settlements and villages, to close schools and cultural centers, and to rename the districts. In 1947-1953, the names of 60 Azerbaijani settlements were changed. In general, in 1921-1988 hundreds of settlements of Turkic origin were renamed.
The Armenians in the deportation of the Azerbaijani used such a treachery; they deported big settlements and left small ones. The Azerbaijanis thus formed the minority and then were deported when the “cleansing” operation was conducted.
The deportation of Azerbaijanis from Armenia in 1988 -1989
Since January 1988, the Armenians began to implement into life the policy of “Armenia without Turks”. The government of Armenia, nationalistic organizations “Karabakh” and “Krunk”, and representatives of the church of Echmiezdin committed thousands of bloody crimes under the protection of the administration of the USSR in the process of forcible deportation of the Azerbaijanis from Armenia.
As a result of this ethnic cleansing 185 Azerbaijani settlements were emptied, over 250,000 Azerbaijanis and 18,000 Kurds were compelled to leave their houses; 217 Azerbaijanis were murdered and 49 of them froze in the mountains when escaping to save their lives, 41 of them were beaten to death, 35 of them were tortured to death, 115 of them were burnt, 16 of them were shot, 10 of them died of heart attacks unable to endure the tortures, 2 of them were murdered by physicians in the hospital, some people were drowned in the water, some were hung, some were electrified to death, and some were beheaded.
The Khojali genocide
One of the most horrible tragedies, which Azerbaijan experienced in the 20th century, is the genocide in Khojali. It is like the genocides committed in Khatyn, Lidisia, Oradur reflected in the history of mankind.
In the early hours of February 26, the armed forces of Armenia, the armed Armenian militants of the Nagorno-Karabakh, and Motor-Infantry Battalion 366 of the former Soviet Union dislocated between Askaran and Khankendi (Stepanakert) occupied the town and committed genocide against the Azerbaijanis.
The night, in which the Armenians committed the genocide in Khojali, 613 peaceful residents were murdered with a special cruelty, torture, beheaded, and blinded. Pregnant women were bayoneted; among them were 63 children, 106 women and 70 old men.
The genocide was committed with the participation of Motor-Infantry Regiment No. 366 commanded by Major Seyran Mushegovich Oganyan (at present he is the “defense minister” of the illegal Nagorno-Karabakh regime), companies and platoons of the same battalion commanded by Eugenie Nabokikhin, chief of headquarters of the first battalion Valeri Isayevich Chitchyan and over 50 officers and senior personnel of the Armenian nationality (“Materials of Investigation on the genocide in Khojali”).
A part of the population trying to escape the violence encountered ambushes on the way out of the town and was murdered. According to the materials of the Russian legal-protection “Memorial” centre, 200 Azerbaijani corpses were brought from Khojali to Agdam within four days, and it was discovered that they were subjected to abuses, torture and mutilation. 181 corpses (130 men, 51 women and 13 children) were examined by court-medical experts who determined that 151 of them were shot, 20 of them died of wounds due to the fragmentation of shells and 10 of them were beaten to death by blunt tools. There are facts evidencing that the skulls of live men were flayed.
What the witnesses of the Khojali genocide said in the investigation:
The chests of the murdered Azerbaijani children were torn, their hearts splintered, and most of the corpses were cut to pieces.
Jamal Abdulhusein oglu Heydarov – “There were the mutilated, disfigured corpses of a great number of Azerbaijanis 2 km away from the farm near a place called Garagaya, the chests and hearts of the murdered children were torn, the majority of bodies were cut to pieces.”
Shahin Zulfugar oglu Heydarov – “There were 80 corpses near the village of Nakhchivanik (near Khojali); they were mutilated, disfigured, and beheaded. Militia Major Alif Hajiyev, his close relatives Fakhraddin Salimov, Mikail Salimov were among them.”
Jalil Humbatali oglu Humbatov – “The Armenians shot my wife Firuza, my son Mugan, my daughter Simuzer, my daughter-in-law Sudaba were in my presence”.
Kubra Adil qizi Pashayeva – “When we entered the forest of Ketik, we found ourselves under siege by the Armenians. I saw from the bushes how they shot my husband Shura Tapdig oglu Pashayev my son Elshad Shura oglu Pashayev.”
Khazangul Tavakkul qizi Amirova – “My family was wholly taken hostage by the armed Armenians when Khojali was occupied. They shot and killed my mother Raya, my seven-years old sister Yegana, and my aunt Goycha. They poured petrol on my father Tavakkul and set him on fire.”
Zoya Ali gizi Aliyeva – “We hid in the forest for 3 days; we were 150 people. Ahmadova Dunya and her sister Gulkhar froze and died”.
Kubra Alish gizi Mustafayeva – “As the Armenians took us hostages, they shot 6 people in front of me.”
Saida Gurban gizi Karimova – “12 of us were taken hostages. The Armenians murdered my daughter Nazakat. Then Tapdig, Saadat and Irada were tortured to death.”
Ali Agamali oglu Najafov – “The Armenians surrounded the escaping people and shot 30-40 people right there.”
Picture & Article Azerbaijan Today magazine. 2009.