CHAPTER 14 THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SOVIET POWER IN TRANSCAUCASIA. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE KARABAKH AND NAKHICHEVAN ANNEXATION TO AZERBAIJAN (1920-1923)

February 21 a new letter was sent to Lenin by Narimanov, where he hurried to inform him that the Dashnaks had seized power in Yerevan, the Soviet Power was overthrown. And again cautiously advised Lenin to ignore the Armenian issue while negotiating with the Turks.22

The negotiations between Turkey and the RSFSR took place in February, March 1921, at the time when the anti-Bolshevik Dashnaks had regained power in parts of Armenia. Under pressure the RSFSR declared in a treaty that was initiated in Moscow on March 16;

“The first article of the Treaty confirms the formation of the Nakhichevan as an autonomous territory under the protectorate of Azerbaijan, on condition, that Azerbaijan is not allowed to surrender its protectorate to a third state.”23

The third state was Armenia. Thus under Narimanov’s influence the Moscow government took the side of Azerbaijan. The treaty that was finally ratified on October 13, 1929 in Kars, by the three Transcaucasian Republics, confirmed the provision on Nakhichevan. Later in 1932 Turkey transferred a 50 kilometres long territory to Iran (unaware of Turke’s political intrigues at that time) in return for a 17 kilometre corridor along the Arax river to obtain common border with Azerbaijan.

Article 15 of the Russo-Turkish Treaty was an expression of the Bolshevik Nationality Policy. It read; “Russia is obliged to undertake measures against the Transcaucasian Republics, in case they fail to fulfil the provisions of future agreements with the Turkey, reflecting this one.” If such a pressure was desirable to Azerbaijan, for Armenia it meant new loss of rights and benefits.

Bolshevism continued to devide and redivide Armenia. Armenia was carved up. New territories including the historical Goghtn, Yernjak Sharur-Ararat, Jauk, Kovsakan provinces were presented to Azerbaijan. It was curious that the Nakhichevan district, an integral part of ancient and medieval Armenia, from where the Apostoles Thaddeus and Bartholomew propagated the new faith, where Mesrop Mashtots founded the first Armenian schools, should be attached to Azerbaijan, based on Baku. Formerly extensively peopled by Armenians, it gradually became Tatar. In 1916 the Armenians formed 4040 of the population, i.e. 50 thousand men.

The anti-Bolshevik rizing of Zangezur, led by Nzhdeh was crushed in July. But Nzhdeh, following the footsteps of Andranik, had already succeeded in re-armenizing the region. Zangezur is sure to become an integral part of Armenia due to the activity of Nzhdeh.

Soon the time came for Baku to tackle the next piece – Karabakh. The Caucasian Bureau of the Communist Party on 3 June 1921 decreed in the presence of N. Narimanov, Al. Miasnikian, S. Orjonikidze, F. Makharadze that “Mountainous Karabakh belonged to Armenia.” On June 12 the Peoples’ Commissariat of Armenia published the following decree;

“On the basis of the Declaration of the Revolutionary Committee of Baku and the Consensus Between the Socialist Soviet Republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan, henceforth Mountainous Karabakh constitutes an integral part of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Armenia.”24

This declaration made a great impression on rebellious Zangezur. they too, hoped “to form an undivisible part of the Motherland, based on their right of self-determination”, and were persuaded to put down the arms.

Soon Narimanov gave up the Declaration of the Revolutionary Committee of Baku of December 1 about Karabakh and Zangezur being recognized as integrated parts of Soviet Armenia. Subsequently the Caucasian Bureau of the Communist Party of Russia, stressing the urgency of the situation assumed the role of an arbitrator. The Bureau decided to meet in Tiflis on July 4, 1921 finally to settle the frontier problems of the two Soviet Republics. At the first meeting, in which Stalin, Orjonikidze, Kirov, Figatner, Makharadze, Narimanov, the Comsomol secretary Breitmanov and members of Georgian Central Committee Tsiniuadze, Mdivani and Svinadze took part, was decided by a majority vote’

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