One month after the August 1991 putch in Moscow, which ended Communist rule in the Soviet Union, the Nagorny Karabakh Regional Soviet and the governing council of the Shahumian District, announced the establishment of the Nagorny Karabakh Republic and declared that it was no longer under Azerbaijani jurisdiction. In November 1991 the Azerbaijani parliament, facing increasingly fierce popular demands for decisive action in the region, voted to annul Nagorny Karabakh’s status of autonomous region.

In autumn of 1991 the visitors to the Park of the Baku 26 Commissars, faced a surprise. The memorial complex, built in the honour of those 26 Peoples’ Commissars, who realized the establishment of the Soviet rule in Baku in 1918, now witnessed that the number of the commissars was not 26, but 19. It was easy to guess that the names of the seven Armenian commissars was scraped out. The monument to the leader of the Baku Commune S. Shahumian was destroyed, the Tatar M. Azizbekov had “replaced” him in the leader’s post.

Thus the motion against anything Armenian was in progress. Probably further investigations would enable the anti-Armenian forces to find out that there were many other Armenians among the commissars, whose names didn’t sound Armenian, and many others of other nationalities, and may be in the end the inscription on the monument would read “Three Baku commissars?” Who knows? In 1918 the nationality was of no importance, the Bolshevik revolutionaries belonged to no nation. It was only later found out (73 years later) that Lenin was not a Russian, Stalin not a “pure” Georgian…1

The Azerbaijani mass-media, which continuously struggled against everything Armenian within its borders, now, backed by Turkey, tried to expand to the international spheres. The Turkish informational agency “Turan” published the work of the Frenchman J. de Malevil “The Armenian Massacres of 1915” in Russian.2

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