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

“As to the Turks, the situation is very complicated. We still don’t know what is the hidden meaning of the displacement of their troops, about which Mdivani informed us.”8

Before that, on June 22, considering Narimanov’s demand to annex the three disputed regions, Lenin asked Chicherin “whether it was not possible to reach agreement with Narimanov”, to which Chicherin replied;

“…The last phase of that confrontation is Azerbaijan’s claims to that vast region, which belongs to Armenia and are in the hands of the Armenian government…. The Baku Soviet government’s internal policy had caused clashes with the Muslim masses (the Gandzak revolt – B), and as a compensation he is trying to maintain the above mentioned territories called “disputable” by him to bribe the nationalistic elements of Azerbaijan. To realize this combination through the Russian divisions is unpermittable…. Seizing these parts from Armenia and handing them over to Azerbaijan would give our eastern policy false colouring…. The territories should not be attached either to Armenia or to Azerbaijan, but should be placed under the authority of the Russian occupation forces and should set up local Soviets, till the day, when the political situation will be favourable for reaching a successful and peacefull settlement of the problem, satisfactory for all sides.”

Diplomatic aspirations are connected with fluid and unstable political situations, or maybe Chicherin wasn’t sure that he could “save Karabakh, Zangezur and Nakhichevan”, however staging his diplomatic abilities in a letter addressed to the Dashnak government of Armenia, he wrote;

“The friendly relations, which the Soviet government is trying to establish with the Turkish national government in Asia Minor, by the way is aiming at enabling the Armenian nation to obtain new territories in the Asian region and to free themselves of the eternal and fateful hostilities with the Muslims.”9

Soon the Armenians understood the meaning of the “friendly links” between Russia and Turkey.

Narimanov didn’t give up his policy of seizing the disputable areas. His note to a collegue in Tiflis read;

“There is no power in the world to force us to give up our policy of inciting the population of the regions in question to pronounce in favour of union with Azerbaijan.”10

The meaning of the words “to incite the populations” was explained in his secret correspondence with the president of the Revolutionary Committee of Karabakh, Asad Karaev, who in his turn proposed methods in his letter addressed to the Muslim Regional Revolutionary Committee at Zangezur;

“Your previous policy is erroneous, that is the conquest of Zangezur and Karabakh, through armed forces. We know that our troops were defeated and had to retreat, but now instead of force our money is accomplishing miracles…. The government has decided to assign 200 million roubles for the purpose of attaching Zangezur and Karabakh to Azerbaijan. No time must be lost….”

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21