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

“… the Karabakh question. During the discussion of this item, two viepoints emerged and the following items were taken vote on:

a) to leave Nagorny Karabakh inside the frontiers of Azerbaijan.

Voted for – Narimanov, Makharadze, Nazaretian.

Voted against – Orjonokidze, Kirov, Miasnikian, Figatner.

b) to organize a referendum, restricted to Karabakh, with the participation of the

Muslim and Armenian population.

Voted for – Narimanov, Makharadze

c) to annex the Highland Karabakh to Armenia

Voted for – Orjonikidze, Miasnikov, Figatner, Kirov, Nazaretian.”

The final resolution was to annex Nagorny Karabakh to Armenia and to organize a referendum, restricted to Karabakh. When as a result, Narimanov threatened to take a question before the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party, the Caucasian Bureau met again on July 5, 1921. In the presence of the Central Committee member Stalin, the Party Bureau members Orjonikidze, Makharadze, Kirov, Nazaretian, Orkhelashvili, Figatner, Narimanov, Miasnikov Commissar of External Affairs of Azerbaijan Husseinov; to reconsider the question and then what followed defied logic. Without discussion the Bureau made a contradictory dicision;

“a) Regarding the necessity of national peace between the Muslims and

Armenians, and the economic links between Nagorny and Lower Karabakh, its

constant tie to Azerbaijan it is decided to leave Mountainous Karabakh inside

the frontiers of Azerbaijan, granting it extensive regional-territorial autonomy

and having as its centre Shushi, forming part of the autonomous region.

b) to charge the Central Committees of Armenian and Azerbaijani Communist

Parties with the task of finding an appropiate candidate to the post of Karabakh

Emergency Committee Commissar.

c) the borders of Mountainous Karabakh will be decided by the Azerbaijani

Central Committee and represented to the Party Central Bureau to be

confirmed.”

Later, to justify the decision of 5 July 1921 the Moscow magazine “Novosti” published an official pamphlet, which read; “Narimanov is one of the outstanding figures of Azerbaijan” and “Stalin’s stand was internationalist, correct and therefore socialist.”26

The historian Hrant Abrahamian writes; “The July 5 decision made by the Caucasian Burean is completely unlawful and illegitimate. The matter did not fall within its jurisdiction, as it isn’t a legislative body. Without regarding the Armenian nation and in the absence of Karabakh representatives such an unlawful decision was made…”27

Many other historians and legislative representatives of courts of justice all over the world have the same view on the matter. But it was time of “unlawfullness” and all the laws adopted were “illegitimate”, but the question is; was it possible to correct the mistake after the victory of democracy?

Months later on January 1920 in the first Congress of the Armenian Communist Party Al. Miasnikov said about the July 5 decision of the Caucasian Bureau; “A kind of nationalism appeared from the part of the Caucasian Soviet Republics. Giving the characteristics of the last session we can say that it looked as if Aharonian, Topchibaev and Chkhenkeli were present there. Azerbaijan was saying that if Armenia claimed Karabakh, they should not supply her with oil. We were sitting there with the map in our hands. This is an exact example of former nationalism. I have worked in Western Russia where discordance was great between the Polish and the Jews, but no much problems existed among the communists. but here the Georgian communist hated the Armenian, the Tatar communist too. Those, who spoke about abolishing the borders, were called colonizers.”28

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