CHAPTER 24 THE FATE OF ISLAMIC ETHNIC MINORITIES IN AZERBAIJAN

The Lezgiz are one of the Caucasian ancient nations. They live on their own lands neighbouring Daghestan and Azerbaijan. The Russian Tsarist government realized an inhumane act against the Lezgiz, dividing the ethnic nation into two parts in 1860. According to the decision of All-union Central Executive Committee of January 20, 1921, as well as of that of the All-Daghestan First Conference of December 5, 1921, the vital problem of the Lezgi people was solved – the Lezgian territories within Azerbaijan and Daghestan were to be joined. But those historical decisions have so far not been realized. The Lezgiz continue to live in two republics, which are basically different from each other considering historical, cultural, psychological, moral traditions. The forcible Turkicization of Lezgiz set in motion in 1930-ies by Bagirov’s regime is going on led by the Azerbaijani extremist and despotic government. The demographic situation has changed recently due to the in-migration of the Turk-Meshkhetians and the Turkic refugees from Armenia to the Lezgian territories. Considering that the national-territorial unity is a base for national-democratic revival of Lezgi nation, being led by the constitutional right of self-determination, relying on traditions of Lezgi statehood, prevented in the 19th century, the Congress expresses the will of the Lezgi nation to unite and create a united national statehood. The Congress declares that the sovereignity within the Lezgian republic belongs to the Lezgi people, realizing its right through authorized representatives of power appointed by the Congress of representatives of Lezgiz and by the Lezgian National Council elected by the Congress. The Congress applies to Lezgiz living in Azerbaijan, Daghestan, in other places of the USSR and in abroad to unite and support the sacred cause of restoration of statehood of Lezgi nation.

The Congress calls the people of fraternal Azerbaijan, Daghestan and the USSR, all the national parties and movements to aid the Lezgiz realize the right of restoration of statehood in the historical Motherland.

The Congress believes that the people of Azerbaijan, Daghestan and other republics will respect the will of the Lezgiz and will support them to solve the problem. The Declaration was adopted on September 28, 1991 in the All-Lezgian National Congress in the city Kasumberd in Daghestan SSR.

Nariman Ramazanov

Chairman of Lezgian National Council.2

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