CHAPTER 16 THE KARABAKH PROBLEM AS A RESULT OF THE PAN-TURKIC POLICY OF THE BAKU AUTHORITIES

In 1922 the three Caucasian republics – Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan federated to form the Soviet Socialist Federal Republic of Transcaucasia with the Tbilisi centre (this union was dissolved in 1936). As the historian B. Ulubabian notes;

“The internal demands and the dissatisfaction of the nationalities entering this administrative unit were subdued, internationalism was woven into a policy which demonstrated a false brotherhood”.1

In contrast to the Azerbaijani Bolshevik political leaders, the Armenians literally absorbed all the nations of the internationalist theory and became active propagandists of brotherhood between nations. The Azerbaijanis always made the better use of that discourse and achieved national prosperity. The policy of the Azerbaijani Bolsheviks was adopted by all the succeeding leaders and turned to be benefitial to their state and the nation.

Though Mountainous Karabakh was attached to Azerbaijan with “a large degree of regional autonomy”, the Baku authorities attemped to ignore that aspect, the effect of which would be to limit their sovereinty over the region. So unrest continued in Karabakh. A report was presented to the Regional Committee of Transcaucasia, which examined the question in its 12th congress in April 1923. During the discussions Karl Radek declared that there existed the possibility of the Azerbaijanis of Karabakh being pressured by the Armenian minority and added that he had received such information from a high Azerbaijan functionary.2 To this Joseph Stalin, who wasn’t distinguished for his respect towards the Armenians, answered;

“Radek now told that the Armenians are subdueing or can subdue to Azerbaijanis…. I must say that in general nothing of the kind had occurred in the nature. Vice versa is widely known, when the Azerbaijanis of Azerbaijan as an ethnic majority subdue the Armenians and slaughter them, as was the case in Nakhichevan, where nearly all Armenians were massacred”.3

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