Azerbaijan is a democratic, legal, secular Republic. A universal referendum adopted the Constitution of Azerbaijan on November 12, 1995. The Republic proclaimed its independence on August 30, 1991. The system of government administration of Azerbaijan is based on the principles of separation of powers: legislative, executive and judicial.
The head of state is the President. The executive power is vested in the President. The President is elected for a 5 year term by direct elections. As the result of a general presidential elections held on October 3 1993, Heydar Aliyev was elected the President of Azerbaijan Republic. Last time the president Heydar Aliyev was elected on October 11, 1998.
The legislative power is vested in Milli Mejlis – a one chamber Parliament that consists of 125 deputies elected on the basis of a majority and proportional electoral system and general, equal, direct elections for 5 years term. The latest elections to Milli Mejlis were held on November 5, 2000. Majority votes were gained by the party “Yeni Azerbaijan” (“New Azerbaijan”).
The supreme body of the executive power of the President is the Cabinet of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister. The judicial power is vested in independent courts of Azerbaijan: Constitutional Court, Supreme Court and High Economic Court. The official language of the Azerbaijan Republic is the Azerbaijan language spoken by 95% of the population. The religion of a large part of the population is Islam.
The Republic includes Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic with the town of central submission – Nakhchivan, Julfa, Ordubad (regions of the same name), and also Babek, Sadarak, Shakbuz and Sharur districts. Administratively the republic is divided into 65 rural regions. There are 11 towns of the Republican submission (Baku, Ganja, Sumgayit, Ali-Bayramly, Lankaran, Mingechevir, Naftalan, Khankendi, Sheki, Guba, Shusha).
The capital of Azerbaijan is Baku. The city occupies the territory of 192 thousand hectares. The population is about 2 million people.
I. State symbols of the Republic of Azerbaijan shall be: the Republic of Azerbaijan Flag, the Republic of Azerbaijan Emblem, the Republic of Azerbaijan National Anthem.
II. The Flag of the Republic of Azerbaijan shall consist of three wide stripes. The upper stripe shall be of blue colour, the middle stripe shall be red and the lower one shall be green. There shall he a white crescent and eightpointed star in the middle of the red stripe on both sides of the Flag. The proportion of the width to the length shall be 1 by 2. III. The design of the Republic of Azerbaijan Flag and the Republic of Azerbaijan State Emblem, the music and the text of the Republic of Azerbaijan National Anthem shall be defined by the Constitutional Law.
The Republic of Azerbaijan Flag
On November 9th, 1918 government of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic adopted resolution on national three colored flag. After the fall of ADP on April 28, 1920 and establishment of Soviet power in Azerbaijan this flag was rejected.
On November 17, 1990 three colored flag was for the second restored in its rights by the resolution of Supreme Majlis of Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic and accepted as national flag of Autonomous Republic. At the same session Supreme Majlis of Nakhichevan solicited Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan SSR for recognition of three colored flag as a national symbol of Azerbaijan.
On February 5, 1991 Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan Republic considered a solicitation for recognition three colored flag as a National Flag of Azerbaijan.
National Flag of the Republic of Azerbaijan consists of three equal in length horizontal stripes. The upper stripe is blue, middle is red, lower is green colored. Blue color has meaning of Turkic origin of Azerbaijani nation, red color has reflects the heading to modernization of society and development of democracy, and the green color shows belonging to Islamic civilization. In the center of red stripe on both sides of flag there is white crescent and eight-angled star. Proportions of width of the flag to the length is 1:2.
The Republic of Azerbaijan Emblem
On January 30, 1920 government of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic adopted resolution on announcement a competition of the best National emblem of republic. It was mentioned in the resolution that adoption of the emblem will be on May 28. But in the result of fall on April 28, 1920 of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic emblem wasn’t adopted.
On November 17, 1990 Supreme Majlis of Nakhichevan AR, after having discussed question on National emblem solicited Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan SSR on announcement a competition for processing the National emblem of Azerbaijan.
Competition was announced on February 5, 1991 according to resolution of Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan Republic. During 1991-1992 there were tens of projects of new National emblem, on discussions there were also suggestions on adoption on the projects designed in 1919-1920.
On January 19, 1993 Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Azerbaijan passed Constitutional Law according to which project of National emblem of 1919-1920 with some changes was adopted.
National emblem of the Republic of Azerbaijan is the symbol f sovereignty of Azerbaijan state. National emblem represents an image of oriental escutcheon, placed on the arch composed of oak branches and ears. On the escutcheon in background of colors of National flag of the Republic of Azerbaijan there is image of eight-angled star and in the center of star there are tongues of flame.
Convex image of National flag (emblem) is represented:
at the residence and office room of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan;
on the wall of parliament building, in the session hall and office room of the chairman of parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan;
on the walls of buildings of all courts, military tribunals, in the halls of court sessions, in the office rooms of chairmen of Constitutional Court and Supreme Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan;
in cases provided by legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan, on the walls of buildings of state structures;
on the walls of buildings of diplomatic and trade representatives of consular offices of the Republic of Azerbaijan .
Area: 86,600 sq km; 11.5% forests, 1.6% water, 50% agricultural land, 27% pasture, and 36.9% other. The country is situated at 44o and 52′ East longitude, and 38o and 42′ North latitude; Baku lies right on the 40th parallel.
Population: 8,347,300 (2005). 50.8% urban, 49.2% rural.
Capital od Azerbaijan: Baku
The President of the Azerbaijan Republic: Ilham Aliyev
Major languages: Azeri is the official language. Other languages: Russian, Georgian, and Lezghi. Russian and Turkish are widely spoken.
Religion: Majority of the population is Muslim. Other religions include Orthodox Christianity, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Judaism.
Time Zone: GMT + 4 hours
Azerbaijan currency: Manat (1 Manat = 100 Quapik)
International dialing code: +994
Entry formalities: Valid passport is required. Entry visa required by all. Entry visa may be obtained upon arrival at Baku Airport.
Electric current: Voltage is 220V, 50 Hz.
Currency: The National currency of Azerbaijan is the Azeri Manat (AZM). Foreign currency and travelers cheques can be exchanged for Azeri Manat in all banks. In addition, currency can be exchanged at all official exchange points, which can be found everywhere. It is necessary to keep receipts of all exchanges until departure from the country. Those who change currency with unauthorized individuals take the risk of becoming a victim of scams and fraud, and carry full responsibility for possible abuses.
Credit cards: As a rule, it is possible to pay by credit card in most hotels. However, we recommended confirming in advance the acceptance of credit cards. Cash machines (ATM) are located in the most important business centers, shopping malls, and underground stations
|New Year||January 1|
|International Women’s Day||March 8|
|Novruz Bayram (Central Asian New Year)||March 20-21|
|Victory Day (WWII)||May 9|
|Independence Day||May 28|
|Day of National Rescue||June 15|
|Armed Forces Day||June 26|
|Day of State Independence||October 18|
|State Flag Day||November 9|
|Constitution Day||November 12|
|Day of National Revival||November 17|
|Day of Worldwide Solidarity of Azeri People||December 31|
Religious Holidays of
|Ramazan Bayram (Ramadan)|
Memorial Holidays of
|Day of the Shehids||January 20|
|Day of Khojali||February 26|
|Genocide of Azerbaijanis||March 31|
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20 January 1990 is a day, which went down in history of the struggle for the freedom and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, as a heroism page. Leading of the battle divisions of the Soviet army aimed against wide mass who got out in the streets and squares of Baku to protest against aggressive actions of Armenia, which was raising territorial claims to our country, against protection rendered to this country by the government of the former USSR had brought to the unprecedented tragedy in Azerbaijan. On those terrible days valiant sons and daughters of our Motherland, the country’s freedom, honor and dignity of whom was above all, sacrificed their own lives and rose to the top of shahid.Tragedy of January 20, which brought to huge losses and destruction of innocent people, demonstrated martial spirit, inexorability and pride of our nation, which couldn’t stand the policy of the government of Gorbachev headed criminal empire treacherous towards Azerbaijan, intended to the freedom and independence. As a result of it, we gained our independence many years we had been dreaming of and our country had achieved sovereignty.
In spite of the fact that a few years has passed since those bloody days, our nation remembers that dreadful night and expresses its deep contempt to those who committed that tragedy. Our republic celebrates the day of tragedy of January 20 broadly every year, which had immortalized in the vital memory of our nation as a Day of the Nationwide Sorrow.
Over the night from February 25 to 26, 1992 Armenian armed forces implemented the capture of the Khojaly city with support of hard equipment and the personnel of the infantry guards regiment #366 of former Soviet Union.
The massed firing with using artillery weapon, hard military equipment, which was began in the evening of February 25, preceded assault of the city.
As a result of this the fire began in the city and by five o’clock in the morning the whole city was in fire. The population (about 2500 people) remained in the city were forced to leave their houses in the hope to find the way to Aghdam – the district center and the nearest place mainly populated by Azerbaijanis.
But these plans have failed. Armenian armed forces with the military support of the infantry guards regiment destroyed Khojaly city and with particular brutality implemented carnage over the peaceful population. As a result:
613 people were killed, among them;
70 the elderly.
8 families were killed completely.
25 children lost both parents.
130 children lost one of the parents.
487 people were wounded, including;
1275 people were hostages
150 people were missing
The damage done to both state and private property estimated 5 billion rubles (according to the prices for 01.04.92)
These figures show the results of the most bloody tragedy of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which began on February, 1988 with illegal demands of ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast of Azerbaijan SSR to join Armenia SSR that was provoked with direct support of ruling circles of the Armenian SSR, consent and inactivity of central authorities of Soviet Union.
Khojaly – the main target
Khojaly assault by Armenian armed forces was predetermined by strategic location of the city. The city with population of 7000 people is situated 10 kilometers to South-East from Khankendi. Khojaly is situated on the way Aghdam-Shusha, Askeran-Khankendi and has an airport, the only in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Khojaly is the historical place and memorials of ancient history have still remained here. The memorials of Khojaly -Kedabek culture of XIV-VII centuries B.C. are near Khojaly village. The funeral memorials – the stone boxes, barrows and necropolis of the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age, as well as architectural memorials – round crypt (1356-1357) and mausoleum (XIV century) were found here. The various stone, bronze, bone adornment, the ceramics household goods were found during the archeological excavations. The name of the Assyrian king Adadnerari (807-788 cc. B.C.) was written on one of the beads found in Khojaly.
The population ranched and done with the wine-growing, beekeeping and grain farming. There were the textile factories, 2 secondary schools and 2 partial secondary schools in the city.
In connection with the events of last years 54 Turks-Meskhets families – refugees from Fergana (Uzbekistan), as well as Azerbaijanis expatriated from Armenia have taken refuge in this city. Because of that the construction of branches of big industrial enterprises of Azerbaijan, residential buildings and other sites were developed.
Later the Armenian side admitted that one of the first goals of Armenian armed forces was the liquidation of Khojaly base to open the corridor connected Askeran village and Stepanakert across the city and unblocking of the only airport, which was under control of the Azerbaijanis.
Pay attention to the phrase “the liquidation of Khojaly base”. These words, which are also heard today, disclose motives of mass extirpation of children and women, motives of bloody massacre implemented by Armenians.
Chronicle of tragedy
Khojaly was under blockade since October, 1991. On October, 30 the ground traffic was cut off and helicopter was the only way of transportation. The last civilian helicopter arrived in Khojaly on January, 28 and after civilian helicopter was brought down over Shusha city, as a result of which 40 people died, the helicopter traffic also stopped its functioning. Beginning from January 2 there was no electricity in the city. The city lived due to the courage of population and heroism of his defenders. Defense of the city was organized by local guard forces, militia and fighters of National Army armed mainly by submachine guns.
From the second part of February Khojaly was encircled by Armenian armed forces and subjected to daily artillery and hard military equipment firing, attack attempts of the Armenian side.
Preparation for Khojaly attack began in the evening of February, 25 when the military equipment of regiment No 366 began to take positions around the city. The assault of the city began with the 2 hours firing by tanks, armored cars and guns with the missile “Alazan”. Khojaly was blocked from three sides and the people tried to escape in Askeran direction. But very soon they understood that it was the ominous trap. Near Nakhchivanik village the Armenian armed forces opened the fire on the unarmed people. Just here, in Askeran-Nakhchivanik shallow gully many of the children and women, the elderly, frostbitten and weaken in the snow of forests and mountain passes became the victims of the brutality of Armenian armed forces.
These events took place when Foreign Minister of Islamic Republic of Iran Ali Akbar Vilayati visited the region with mediatory mission. On February, 25 he met with leadership of Azerbaijan in Baku and on February, 27 he planned to go to the Karabakh, and then to Armenia. In connection with that according to agreement of both parts three days cease fire was declared from February, 27 till March, 1, but it was also ignored by the Armenian side. It was also happened on February, 12 when the mission of Council of Security and Cooperation in Europe arrived in Karabakh with the aim to acquaint and analyse the situation in the conflict zone and possibilities of its settlement, and then it planned to go to Yerevan and Baku. Exactly on February, 12 Armenian extremists carried out capture of Malibeyli and Gushchular villages of Shusha district, as a result of which the villages were completely destroyed and burnt. Only in Malibeyli about 50 people were killed, wounded and taken as hostages.
Those days Azerbaijani forces couldn’t burst through to help the population of Khojaly, and there was also no ability to take away the dead bodies. At the same time special groups of Armenians in white camouflage cloaks using helicopters searched the people in the forests, groups of people who came out the forest were shot or taken as hostages and subjected to tortures.
On February 28 the group of local journalists could reach the place of massacre of Azerbaijanis by two helicopters. Awful sight shocked all – the field was covered by dead bodies. Despite the convoy of the second helicopter they could take only 4 dead bodies because of firing of the helicopters by Armenian militants. On March, 1 when the group of the foreign and local journalists could come to this place, the sight that they saw was more terrible. The dead bodies were mutilated. Many of them had the bullet wounds to head and this showed that the wounded people were finished. After medical checkup of dead bodies it was determined that they were scalped, their ears and other organs were cut off, the eyes were put out, their extremities were chopped off, they have numerous of gun wounds, many of them pressed by hard equipment.
Those days foreign newspapers wrote:
“Crual L’Eveneman” magazine (Paris), March 25, 1992: “The Armenians attacked Khojaly district. The whole world became the witness of the disfigured dead bodies. Azeris speak about thousand killed people”.
“Sunday Times” newspaper (London), March 1, 1992: “Armenian soldiers annihilated the hundred families”.
“Financial Times” newspaper (London), March 9, 1992: “…Armenains shot down the column of refugees, fled to Aghdam. The Azerbaijani side counted up about 1200 dead bodies…
… The cameraman from Lebanon confirmed that the rich dashnak community of his country send the weapon and people to Karabakh”.
“Times” newspaper (London), March 4, 1992: … “Many people were mutilated, and it was remained only the head of one little girl”
“Izvestiya” newspaper (Moscow), March 4, 1992: “…Camcoder showed the kids with the cut off ears. One old woman was cut off the half of her face. The men were scalped…”
“Financial Times”, March 14, 1992: “General Polyakov said 103 Armenian servicemen from regiment No 366 stayed in Nagorno-Karabakh”.
“Le Monde” newspaper (Paris), March 14, 1992: “… The foreign journalists in Aghdam saw the women and three scalped children with the pulled off nails among the killed people. This is not “Azerbaijani propaganda”, but reality”
“Izvestiya” newspaper, March 13, 1992:
“Major Leonid Kravets: “I saw about hundred dead bodies on the hill. One little boy was without head. Everywhere were the dead bodies of women, children, elders killed with the particular brutality”.
“Valer actuel” magazine (Paris), March 14, 1992: “…On this “autonomous region” Armenian armed forces together with the people who are natives of Near East have the most modern military equipment, including the helicopters. ASALA has military bases and ammunition depots in Syria and Lebanon. Armenians annihilated Azerbaijanis of Karabakh, implemented bloody massacre in more than 100 Moslem villages”.
Journalist of British TV company “Funt man news” R. Patrick who visited the place of tragedy: “Crime in Khojaly can not be justified in public opinion”.
From the report of “Memorial” Human Rights Watch Center
…Since autumn of 1991 Khojaly has been practically blocked by Armenian armed formations and after withdrawal of internal troops from Nagorno-Karabakh, full blockade of Khojaly was imposed. Beginning from January, 1992 electrical energy transfer to Khojaly was stopped. Part of inhabitants left blocked city, however, despite insistent requests of head of executive power of Khojaly city Elman Mammadov, total evacuation of peaceful population was not organized.
On February, 25 Armenian armed formations began assault of Khojaly.
Participants of assault
…Units of Artsakh National Liberation Army participated in the assault using armored equipment – armored troop-carriers, combat infantry cars and tanks.
Course of assault
Artillery firing of Khojaly began about 11 p.m. on February 25. Barracks located in housing estate and outposts were destroyed first of all. Entering of infantry units into the city took place from 1 a.m. till 4 a.m. in the morning on February 26.
…The last resistance was broken by 7 a.m. in the morning.
…As a result of firing of the city unknown number of peaceful inhabitants was killed on the territory of Khojaly during the assault.
The “free corridor” for population leaving
…60 people fled from Khojaly during the city assault were questioned by “Memorial” observers in Aghdam and Baku. Only one man of all questioned people said that he knew about existence of “free corridor”.
…These refugees proceeded along the “free corridor” situated on the territory adjoined to Aghdam district of Azerbaijan were fired, that resulted in death of many people.
Fate of the inhabitants who stayed in the city
After the occupation of the city by Armenian armed formations about 300 peaceful inhabitants including 86 Turks-Meskhets were in the city.
… According to information received from both sides over 700 captive inhabitants of Khojaly took as hostages in the city and on the way to Aghdam were passed to Azerbaijani side by March 23, 1992. Among them were mainly women and children.
Fate of property of Khojaly inhabitants
Inhabitants of Khojaly who could fled had no possibility to take with them even the most necessary part of their property. The inhabitants who were taken as captives by members of Armenian armed formations also had no possibility to take the part of their property.
Observers from “Memorial” Human Rights Watch Center became witnesses of active unlimited marauding in the occupied city. The property left by Khojaly inhabitants got out from the city by inhabitants of Khankendi (Stepanakert) and neighbouring settlements. The names of new owners were written on the gates of the most of houses.
Estimation of findings
Mass violence against peaceful population of Khojaly city took place during implementation the of military operation on the occupation of the city.
…The majority of Khojaly inhabitants were not informed about existence of the “free corridor”.
…Mass murders of peaceful inhabitants in the zone of the “free corridor” and adjacent territory can not be justified by any circumstances.
…Servicemen of infantry guards regiment No 366 belonged to Commonwealth of Independent States troops have participated in Khojaly assault.
…”Memorial” Human Rights Watch Center establishes that actions of Armenian armed forces of Nagorno-Karabakh towards Khojaly peaceful inhabitants during the assault of Khojaly city roughly violate Geneva conventions as well as the following articles of Human Rights Declaration (adopted by UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948):
Article 2, declaring that “every person must have all rights and all freedoms, declared by this declaration without any distinction of…language, religion, national…origin, … or any other position”;
Article 3, admitting rights of every person to life, freedom and personal immunity;
Article 5, forbidding brutal, inhuman or humiliate treatment of person;
Article 9, forbidding arbitrary arrests, detention or expatriation;
Article 17, declaring right of every person to have property and forbidding to deprive arbitrary the person of his property.
Actions of armed formations roughly violated Declaration on protection of women and children in emergency and during armed conflicts (declared by UN General Assembly on December 14, 1974)”.
Regiment No 366
It is necessary to note the part in Khojaly tragedy of infantry guards regiment No 366 billeted in Khankendi.
This regiment repeatedly engaged in firing of Azerbaijani villages, Shusha and Khojaly cities. Evidence of deserters of this regiment points to these facts and allows us to imagine moral picture and mutual relations among the personnel of the regiment. Clear evidence of engaging of regiment No 366 in Khojaly events is rash withdrawal of this regiment from Khankendi that points to intention to conceal vestiges of this tragedy.
Moral degradation of the officers of regiment No 366 reached such a level that infantry guards regiment failed to implement itself withdrawal of troops allegedly because of interference of local residents. Forces of landing division located in Ganja city was involved in implementation of this operation. However, before commandos arrived, 103 people of personnel of the regiment, who were mainly Armenians clearly admitting their guilty in the outrage refused to obey the order and remained in Karabakh. According to criminal agreement of the high command of the regiment and because of inactivity of other higher commanders who were responsible for troops withdrawal, part of arms of regiment including armored equipment was transferred to Armenians, factually, to commit the further crimes, to continue separatist actions against Azerbaijan. This is clear fact of participation of the regiment No 366 in implementation of Khojaly tragedy!
They are charged…
Armenian armed formations and personnel of infantry guards regiment No 366 participated in firing of the Azerbaijani settlements are the main culprits of vandalism acts implemented in Khojaly city.
Actions of Armenians and their accomplices participated in Khojaly tragedy are rough violation of human rights, cynical neglect of international legal acts – Geneva convention, Universal declaration of human rights, International pact on civil and political rights, International pact on economic, social and cultural rights, Declaration on child rights, Declaration on protection of women and children in emergency and during armed conflicts and other facts of international law.
Political and military leadership of Azerbaijan also is guilty for this tragedy. Ayaz Mutallibov, president and commander-in-chief of Armed Forces of Azerbaijan being guarantor of territorial integrity, security of the country and its citizens, have not taken sufficient measures to prevent tragic events in Karabakh including Khojaly events. As top official of the republic he didn’t provide protection of constitutional order, territorial integrity of the republic, rights and freedoms of citizens. Even after the tragedy, leadership of the republic frightened of reaction of the people was afraid to inform bitter truth and concealed information about the scale of massacre implemented by Armenian armed formations.
The history will not forget
Milli Majlis (Parliament) of Azerbaijan declared February 26 as the “Day of Khojaly genocide”. Every year at 5 p.m. on February 26 people of Azerbaijan honors memory of Khojaly victims in a minute of silence.
Khojaly inhabitants became refugees and took temporary refuge in 48 districts in Azerbaijan are waiting fair solving of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, end of aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan, restoration of territorial integrity of the republic. They appeal to the people of the world, states and international organizations to protect the truth and justice, condemn facts of terrorism, ethnic cleaning implemented in Khojaly.
Culprits of Khojaly tragedy, its organizers and executors must get deserved punishment. There is no and can not be crime without punishment. XX century witnessed many bloody pages which are the history of genocide and ethnic cleaning. Khojaly is one of the most terrible tragedies among them. Everybody implicated in this terrible crime now has responsibility just before its conscience, but the day will come and they will answer for all before court of history.
History remembers everything.
In 1998 the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan issued the Decree on declaring of March, 31 as the day of genocide of Azerbaijanis. This decree is demonstration of the national memory about the tragic events in the history of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani people for the past century. The outrageous facts of mass killings, repression, expatriation of the Azerbaijanis from their native places are one of the tragic pages of the world history of XX century. Clear sign of Armenian nationalism that is delirious about creation of “Great Armenia” and use any ways for achievement of this goal is shown in this tragic history of the Azerbaijani nation.
Azerbaijan is one of the most ancient centers of civilization, the country with rich history. Discovery of one of the earliest sites of man in Azikh cave on the territory of Azerbaijan and the number of sites of Stone Age is the striking example of it.
The development of the statehood on the territory of Azerbaijan has great history that includes creation of Manney kingdom (IX century B.C.), formation of Midi State (VI century B.C.), development of Atropathena and Albania states (III – V A.D.), dissemination of Christianity and emergence of Albanian alphabet at the beginning of V century, conquest by Arabs and inclusion in Arabian Caliphate, spreading of Islam (beginning of VIII century), creation and development Gara Goyunlu, Ag Goyunlu, Sefevids states. In XVIII century influence of the number of states competed for Azerbaijan and pursued the policy “divide and rule” led to the creation of the number of independent and partially independent state formations – khanates. Baku, Karabakh, Guba, Shamakhi, Sheki, Irevan, Nakhchivan, Lenkoran khanates were created on the territory of Azerbaijan. At the end of XVIII and beginning of XIX centuries growing differences between Iran, Turkey and Russia and wars for Azerbaijan largely affected on the fate of the Azerbaijani people.
After signing of Nishtadt peace treaty with Swedes in 1721 Russian tsar Peter I turned his imperial aspirations to Caucasus and Caspian territories that led to the capture of Baku city in 1723. In connection with dissatisfaction and resistance from the local population that was mainly Moslem Peter I considered “location of Armenians and Christians in Gilan, Mazandaran, Baku and Derbend at any price” as necessary for implementation his intentions. And this policy laid by Peter I was continued by other Russian rulers. In 1768 Catherine II issued the Decree on her protection of Armenians. In 1802 tsar Alexander I wrote to N.D. Sisianov: “At any price the Armenians should be used… in either of khanates in Azerbaijan”. The Armenians being the tool for realization of this policy used advantageously imperial intentions of Russia to promote the ideas of creation of their state that they didn’t have in XIV-XIX centuries.
The bloody history of mass repression
Gulistan (12 October, 1813) and Turkmenchay (10 February, 1828) treaties concluded correspondingly at the ends of two wars between Russia and Iran (the first one was in 1804-1813 and the second one – in 1826-1828) played their tragic role in the history of the Azerbaijani people and led to the division of Azerbaijan: the northern part of Azerbaijan was conquered by Russia, the southern part was brought under the rule of Iran.
Shortly after concluding of Turkmenchay treaty by the Decree of March, 21 1828 Nicholas I, the Russian emperor, created “Armenian oblast (district)” on the territory of Irevan and Nakhchivan khanates that included also Irevan city where 7331 Azerbaijanis and 2369 Armenians lived.
After that, according to the clause XV in Turkmenchay treaty mass migration of Armenians from Iran into Irevan, Karabakh and Nakhchivan – the lands populated by Azerbaijanis was implemented that later caused the expatriation of them from their home lands. The similar acts are implemented after completion of the wars with Turkey (in 1828-1829, 1877-1878). According to historic sources 40.000 Armenians in Iran and 84.600 Armenians in Turkey were transmigrated into Caucasus in 1829-1830 and they were placed in Nakhchivan, Karabakh and Irevan. Meanwhile, during hostilities hundreds villages populated by Azerbaijanis were destroyed, thousands people were killed, and the remaining population were forced to leave the home places.
At the second part of XIX century Armenians began to create their organizational structures to realize their nationalistic idea about creation of “Great Armenia” by means of capture of some territories in Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan. It is important to note that parties “Gnchag” (1887, Geneva), “Dashnaktsyutyun” (1890, Tiflis), organization “Union of Armenian patriots” (1895, New-York) were created, mainly abroad.
Despite all these attempts, at the end of XIX century Irevan province took third place after Baku and Elizavetpol (Ganja) provinces in quantity of Azerbaijanis lived there. According to the census of population took place in Russian empire 313178 Azerbaijanis lived in Irevan province in 1897. The subsequent events of the beginning of XX century showed that such a situation was a cause of continuation of the tragedies in the history of the Azerbaijani people.
1905-1907. The Armenians made use of revolutionary processes in Russia in 1905-1907 implemented the planned acts of national massacre, mass expulsion of Azerbaijanis from Baku, Shusha, Zangezur, Irevan, Nakhchivan, Ordubad, Echmiadzin, Javanshir and Gazakh. In 1905-1906 200 Azerbaijani villages were destroyed in Irevan and Ganja provinces and 75 villages – in Shusha, Jabrail, Zangezur districts.
Unfortunately, historic sources has a few documents about events of that period, however they described in the books of M.S.Ordubadi “Bloody years” and M.M.Navvab “Armenian-Moslem war in 1905-1906” prepared on the basis of mass media materials of that period, witnesses of victims and eye-witnesses of that events.
1918-1920. After events of 1905-1907 mass repression against Azerbaijanis were continued in concealed form that testifies statistical materials. These materials for 1916 show that number of population increased by 40 times (from 14.300 to 570.000 people) in 5 districts in Irevan province in 1916 in compare with 1831, but at the same time increasing of total number of Azerbaijanis was only 4.6 times (achieved 246.600 people). Another example: if in 1886-1897 absolute increasing of the population was 40.000 people, in 1905-1916 this figure was equal 1700 though in 1905 the population was 61.000 people more than in 1886. These figures show nationalist policy pursued by Armenian nationalists during rule of tsarist Russia and testify realization of the plan on expatriation of Azerbaijanis and creation of “Armenia without Turks” as Armenians call Azerbaijanis.
Used the situation in Russia after World War I, February and October revolutions in 1917 Armenians began to realize their plans under the banner of Bolshevism. Since March, 1918 Baku commune started to implement criminal plan with aim to liquidate Azerbaijanis in Baku province under the slogan of fight against counterrevolutionary elements. The crimes committed by Armenians those days remained in the memory of Azerbaijani people forever. Only because of their national belonging thousands peaceful Azerbaijanis were killed. Armenians burnt houses and live people. They destroyed national architectural values, schools, hospitals, mosques and other constructions, the most part of Baku was in ruins. Genocide of Azerbaijanis implemented with particular brutality in Baku, Shemakha, Guba distircts, in Karabakh, Zangezur, Nakhchivan, Lenkoran and other districts of Azerbaijan. Peaceful population was killed in mass order, villages were burnt, monuments of national culture were destroyed on those lands.
In March-April, 1918 Armenians killed more than 50 thousand Azerbaijanis, plundered their houses, drove tens thousands people out of their homes in Baku, Shemakha, Guba, Mugan, Lenkoran. Only in Baku about 30 thousand Azerbaijanis were killed with particular brutality, 58 villages were destroyed, about 7 thousand people were killed including 1653 women and 965 children in Shemakha district. 122 Moslem villages were destroyed in Guba district, more than 150 Azerbaijani villages were destroyed barbarously in upper part of Karabakh, 115 villages – in Zangezur district, terrible massacre were implemented against population without any distinction in sex and age.
211 Azerbaijani villages were destroyed, burnt and plundered in Irevan province, 92 – in Kars oblast. One of the numerous appeals of Azerbaijanis in Irevan says that in this historic city of Azerbaijanis and around it 88 villages were destroyed, 1920 houses were burnt, 131.970 people were killed for the short time (daily “Ashkhadavor” (Worker), N 231, November, 2 1919).
Creation of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR) on May, 28 1918 also was accompanied with loss of the part of the territory of Azerbaijan that is testified by letter of the chairman of the Ministers’ Council F.Kh.Khoyski to Foreign Minister M.G.Gadjinski: “We finished all disputes with Armenians, they will receive ultimatum and end the war. We’ll give them Irevan”.
After creation of three sovereign republics in Transcaucasia due to actions of allies territory of Armenia achieved 17.500 square miles with population 1.510.000 people (795.000 Armenians, 575.000 Moslems, 140.000 – representatives of other nations). Dashnaks ignoring discussion of the issue about dispute territories and determination of the borders between the states in the international organizations and possessed by nationalistic ideas of creation of the “Great Armenia” at the expense of Azerbaijani and Georgian territories claimed to the territory of Akhalkaki and Borchali which were the part of Georgia, as well as Karabakh, Nakhchivan and southern part of Elizavetpol province which were the part of Azerbaijan.
Attempts to join these territories led to the war with Georgia (December, 1918) and long bloody fight with Azerbaijan as a result of which the population reduced by 10-30% in the dispute districts and number of settlements were razed to the ground. In 1918-1920 565.000 Azerbaijanis from total 575.000 Azerbaijanis lived on the territory of present Armenia were killed and expatriated. These facts are confirmed by Armenian sources, too: “By 1920 after Dashnaks, Turkic (Azerbaijani) population was a little more than 10.000 people in Soviet Armenia. In 1922 after returning 60.000 Azerbaijani refugees the number of Azerbaijanis amounted to 72.596 people here”. (Z.Korkodian “Population of Soviet Armenia. 1831-1931”).
At the beginning of April, 1920 during Tiflis conference on joint defense against threat of sovetization with participation of the representatives of Transcaucasian republics the Armenians claimed that they would never content just with territory of Irevan province and therefore they refused to cooperate. So, actions of the Armenians in Karabakh, Zangezur and Gazakh in the spring of 1920, in Shusha on March, 22 – at the day of Novruz holiday (Holiday of Spring) of Azerbaijanis, and later in Askeran, Stepanakert and Zangezur may consider as conspiracy between Yerevan and Moscow against Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis to overthrow national government and establish Soviet rule.
Such a policy of Armenians yielded its results. N. Narimanov head of Soviet Azerbaijan yielded to pressure from Moscow forced to issue Declaration on December, 1 1920 according to which the territories of “Zangezur and Nakhchivan districts…” with total area 9800 square kilometers “…declared…the part of Soviet Armenia”.
As it is clear from these facts Armenians used all available means and methods to achieve their nationalistic goals violating generally accepted norms of international law.
Deportation of 1948-1953. During Soviet rule Armenians continued their traditional policy of expatriation of Azerbaijanis from the territory of the Armenian SSR and expansion of its territory at the expense of its neighbors. For implementation of such a policy Armenians lived in Armenia and abroad it coordinated their actions that testifies the existence of global strategy for achievement of “Great Armenia” idea.
Armenian diaspora made use of holding of Tehran conference (1943) appealed to USSR Foreign Minister V. Molotov to allow Armenians lived in Iran to transmigrate into USSR. Consent of Joseph Stalin in this question laid basis for mass deportation of Azerbaijanis from Armenia in 1948-1953.
In 1945 the leadership of Armenia raised a question about joining of Karabakh and substantiated it by economic links of Karabakh with Armenia but at that period these attempts failed. Then another tactics was chosen.
Short after war of 1941-1945 transmigration of Armenians from abroad to Armenia was begun. In 1946 50.900 people were transmigrated from Syria, Greece, Lebanon, Iran, Bulgaria and Romania, and in 1947 35.400 people – from Palestine, Syria, France, USA, Greece, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon. In 1947 Armenian CC CP Secretary G. Arutyunov appealed to Moscow with complaint about difficulties in settlement of Armenian migrants and proposed the cynical idea to transmigrate Azerbaijanis lived in Armenia to cotton-growing regions of Azerbaijan allegedly with aim to provide labor productivity.
This idea supported by I. Stalin was realized by two Decrees of USSR Ministers’ Council. First of them “On transmigration of collective farmers and other Azerbaijanis from the Armenian SSR to Kura-Araks lowland of the Azerbaijani SSR” of December, 1947 decrees about free-well transmigration of 100.000 Azerbaijanis into lower districts of Azerbaijan in 1948-1950 without any mention of reasons, mechanism and real circumstances of transmigration.
According to this Decree 10.000 people were to be transmigrated to Azerbaijan in 1948, 40.000 people – in 1949, 50.000 – in 1950.
The second Decree “On measures for transmigration of collective farmers and other Azerbaijani population from the Armenian SSR into Kura-Araks lowland in the Azerbaijani SSR” of March, 10 1948 was supplement to the first one and included technical and organizational measures for transmigration realization.
According to the facts, 2357 families (11046 people) were transmigrated to Azerbaijan in 1948, 2368 families (10595 people) – in 1949, 14361 people – in 1950. Only 4878 families from 8110 transmigrated in 1948-1950 were provided by dwellings. In general more than 100.000 Azerbaijanis were transmigrated during 1948-1952. Transmigrated people mainly lived in mountainous area and did not provide by dwellings suffered from hot climatic conditions in lower area and numerous victims were among them at that period. Even in such circumstances repeated appeals of transmigrated Azerbaijanis and the leadership of Azerbaijan to Moscow about permission to settle them in mountainous area including Karabakh were rejected by central leadership. It is one more side of free-well transmigration for the sake of cotton-growing development – inhumanity to the fates of people and thousand victims.
Along with it only 10.000 Armenians from France, USA, Egypt, Bulgaria, Romania, Syria, and Lebanon were transmigrated to Armenia in 1948. This fact indicates that Armenia achieved the decree on transmigration of Azerbaijanis from Armenia was not interested in future transmigration of Armenians from abroad. More than 476 villages remained unused as was noted at the session of Armenia CC KP in 1975 (“Communist” daily, January, 20 1975, Yerevan).
Even Armenian nationalists declared in 1990 “Vacant lands and residential areas vacated in connection with transmigration of Azerbaijanis were not used for settlement of Armenians arrived from abroad” (“The voice of Armenia” daily, November, 11 1990).
It can be made the only conclusion from all aforesaid that the transmigration of Azerbaijanis from Armenia has aimed neither distribution of foreign Armenians nor development of cotton-growing in Azerbaijan. It was the policy of building of mononational state, the old idea and dream of Dashnaks. The death of Josef Stalin has stopped the processes of transmigration and Azerbaijanis who have not find shelter and could not endure those conditions were forced to return to their homeland despite discriminations and persecutions against them. It caused the new wave of Armenian dissatisfaction – moral terror against Azerbaijanis. Close of the educational institutions, abolition of studying in Azerbaijani language, replacement of Azeri leaders by Armenian personnel, ignoring of common and economic needs of Azeri villages, expanding of anti-Azerbaijani company, especially became apparent by the realization of 50th year anniversary of the genocide of Armenians in 1965 were the links of Dashnak policy.
1990-s of XX century. The processes of reorganization and publicity in USSR have caused the new wave of anti-Azerbaijani sentiments and territorial claims. Armenian nationalists have begun expatriation of Azerbaijanis from Armenia and seizure of Karabakh from Azerbaijan using substantiation of allegedly economical links of Karabakh with Armenia.
Beginning from 1988 mass threats, beatings and murders, massacres of villages, bloody events in Gukark where 70 people were killed including 21 women and 6 children and in Vardanis district where 40 people were killed forced 250.000 Azerbaijanis to leave their native places in Yerevan, Masis, Kalinino, Kadjaran, Kafan, Kirovokan, Goris, Sisian, Amasiya, Alaverdi. The history of 1905-1920 repeated again – women and children, elderly people going through snow mountain ridges, becoming frozen and perishing were seeking salvation in Azerbaijan. The history of 1948-1953 repeated again – by the order of the central authorities the refugees have not been allowed to settle in Karabakh so they took refuge in the tents.
After expatriation of the residents from the last Azerbaijani village Nuvedy in Armenia in August, 8 1991 which had been annexed to Armenia by the decree of Transcaucasian federation in February, 18 1929, Armenia turned into the mononational republic and the Dashnak idea about “Armenia without Azerbaijanis” was realized.
The aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan after 1988 has turned into ruins occupied cities and districts of Azerbaijan which are the 20 percent of republic’s territory, forced 1.000.000 people to become refugees, 10.000 people were killed, dozen of thousands were crippled.
The genocide in Khojali in February, 1992 is the another evidence of brutality and cruelty of Armenian nationalism and will be kept in the memory of humanity for a long time. It should not be also forgotten the history of Black January of 1990 when the forces of Soviet army inflicted unexampled reprisals against peaceful residents of Baku. According to proofs of eye-witnesses there were a lot of Armenian reservists among soldiers.
Here are the results of nationalistic policy carrying out by Dashnaks during 19-20th centuries. It is necessary to note that separative actions against Azerbaijan are continuing, so Armenia is urging to seize Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic from Azerbaijan. They also make attempts to obtain the recognition of “the genocide of Armenians” by the world community, forgetting that the nation who went through genocide has not moral right for similar actions against other nations. Probably their morbid imagination presumes them to interpret international legal regulations peculiarly playing the role of martyr and torture simultaneously. It all occurs before the eyes of civilized humanity, achieved the high level of cultural and economical development and standing at the 21th century.
Political – legal Assessment
For the first time the March events of 1918 were at the center of attention after the declaration of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. On June 15, 1918 the Council of Ministers accepted the resolution about establishing of special investigation committee.
The committee has investigated the March tragedy, first of all exploring the brutalities of Armenians in Shemakha and grave crimes in Irevan province. It was established the special structure attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to inform the world public about true currency of events. ADR commemorated 31st of March as the day of nation-wide sorrow in 1919 and 1920. In essence it was the attempt to give the political assessment to the policy of genocide against Azerbaijanis and occupation of our territories continuing during more than epoch. But the collapse of ADR has not let to bring to an end this task.
The Republic of Azerbaijan got independence after the collapse of Soviet Union has perceived the necessity of political assessment of the events of genocide and to bring to the logical end the decisions which ADR had not time to finish.
The Decree of the President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev of the March, 26 1998 issued on the eve of 80th anniversary of tragic March events of 1918 became the expression of political assessment by the Azerbaijani side to the actions of Armenian nationalists. That Decree has become a program document for forming of present and future generations’ strong national memory about genocide inflicted against Azeri nation in 20th century, the attaining of the political and legal assessment of those tragedies in the whole world, the eliminating of heavy consequences and for retraining from repetition in future.
In 1998 year the parliament of the Republic – Milli Majlis applied with a statement to United Nations, inter-Parliamentary Council, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Community of Independent States and other international organizations, parliaments and governments of world’s states to make every effort to struggle against events like genocide against Azerbaijanis in the whole world.
“The Day of Genocide of Azerbaijanis” commemorated by Azerbaijanis every year serves these aims and it is an attempt to draw attention of world community to the facts of shovinizm, separatism continuing to the present. It is important to remember that we are all responsible for the peaceful future of civilization.
Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the genocide of the Azerbaijani people
The achievement of independence by the Republic of Azerbaijan has made it possible to reconstruct an objective picture of the historical past of our people. Truths that were kept secret for long years and that were suppressed and banned are coming to light, and the reality behind facts that were once falsified is being revealed. The genocide that was repeatedly carried out against the Azerbaijani people, and which for a long time was not the subject of a proper political or legal assessment, is one of those unrevealed pages of history.
With the signing in 1813 and 1828 of the Gulistan and Turkmenchay Treaties, there began the dismemberment of the Azerbaijani nation and the division of our historical lands. The occupation of its lands marked the continuation of the national tragedy of the divided Azerbaijani people. As a result of this policy, within a very short time there took place a massive resettlement of Armenians on Azerbaijani lands. A policy of genocide was to become an essential element in that occupation of Azerbaijani territory.
Despite the fact that the Armenians who had settled on the territories of the Irevan, Nakhchivan and Karabakh khanates constituted a minority in comparison with the Azerbaijanis living there, they succeeded, under the protection of their patrons, in creating an administrative territorial unit in the form of the so-called “Armenian Region”. In essence, as a result of this artificial territorial division the preconditions were created for a policy of expelling Azerbaijanis from their own lands and for destroying the Azerbaijani population. The propagandizing of the notion of a “Greater Armenia” began. In order to “justify” the efforts to establish this fictitious state on Azerbaijan land, large-scale programs were carried out aimed at inventing a false history of the Armenian people. The distortion of the history of Azerbaijan and of the Caucasus as a whole became an important component of those programs.
From 1905 to 1907, inspired by illusions of creating a “Greater Armenia”, the Armenian invaders, without taking the trouble to hide their intentions, carried out a number of large-scale and bloody actions against the Azerbaijanis. The atrocities perpetrated by the Armenians, which began in Baku, were ultimately extended to cover all of Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani villages located on the territory of present-day Armenia. Hundreds of communities were destroyed and wiped from the face of the earth, and thousands of Azerbaijanis were barbarously murdered. The organizers of these events, by preventing the disclosure of the truth of what had taken place and by blocking its proper political and legal examination, cultivated a negative image of the Azerbaijanis as a screen for their adventurist territorial claims.
Capitalizing for their own purposes on the situation that arose after the First World War and following the uprisings in Russia in February and October of 1917, the Armenians began to seek to turn their plans into reality under the banner of Bolshevism. Beginning in March 1918, the Baku commune, under the slogan of combating counter-revolutionary elements, set about putting into practice a criminal plan whose objective was the liquidation of the Azerbaijanis throughout Baku Province. The crimes committed by the Armenians in those days have remained indelibly imprinted on the memory of the Azerbaijani people. Thousands of peaceful Azerbaijanis were killed solely because of their national affiliation. The Armenians set fire to their houses, burning alive the men and women inside them. They destroyed national architectural treasures, schools, hospitals, mosques and other buildings, laying waste to a large part of Baku. The genocide of the Azerbaijanis was pursued with particular ferocity in the districts of Baku, Shamakhy and Guba and in Karabakh, Zangezur, Nakhchivan, Lenkoran and other regions of Azerbaijan. On these lands the peaceful population was annihilated en masse, with villages put to the torch and national monuments of culture ruined and destroyed.
The March events of 1918 became the focus of attention following the proclamation of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. On 15 July 1918 the Council of Ministers, for the purpose of investigating this tragedy, adopted a decree establishing an extraordinary commission of inquiry. The Commission investigated the March tragedy, focusing primarily on the atrocities committed by the Armenians in Shamakhy as well as on their other heinous crimes in Irevan Province. A special service was established within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the purpose of informing the public at large about what had actually happened. In 1919 and 1920 the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic observed 31 March as a national day of mourning. In essence, this was the first attempt at a political assessment of the policy of genocide perpetrated against the Azerbaijanis and of the more than one-century-old occupation of our lands. However, the demise of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic made it impossible to complete this work.
In 1920 the Armenians, taking advantage of the sovietization of the Transcaucasus for their own vile purposes, proclaimed Zangezur and a number of lands within Azerbaijan as territory of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. Subsequently, with a view to extending further the policy of deporting Azerbaijanis from those territories, new means began to be used. As one of them, the Armenians pushed through the adoption of a special decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR of 23 December 1947 “On the resettlement of collective-farm workers and other members of the Azerbaijani population from the Armenian SSR to the Kura-Araks Lowland of the Azerbaijan SSR” and succeeded in bringing about, as a State-endorsed measure, the deportation en masse of Azerbaijanis from their historical lands during the period from 1948 to 1953.
Beginning in the 1950s, Armenian nationalists, with the help of their patrons, initiated a flagrant campaign of intellectual aggression against the Azerbaijani people. In books, magazines and newspapers periodically circulated in the former Soviet State they argued that the most outstanding works of art of our national culture, our classical heritage and our architectural monuments were all the creation of the Armenian people. This was accompanied by a stepped-up effort to forge worldwide a negative perception of Azerbaijanis. By creating an image of the “unfortunate, hapless Armenian people”, those engaged in this effort consciously falsified the events that had taken place in the region at the beginning of the century: the very people who had committed genocide against the Azerbaijanis were portrayed as the victims of genocide.
Our countrymen were subject to persecution and expelled in droves from the city of Irevan, where the majority of the population at the beginning of the century had been Azerbaijani, and from other regions of the Armenian SSR. The Armenians shamelessly flouted the rights of the Azerbaijanis, created obstacles to their receiving education in their native language, and conducted a policy of repression. The historical names of Azerbaijani villages were changed and a process, unprecedented in the history of toponymy, of substituting modern for ancient place names was implemented. With the aim of creating a basis for the education of Armenian youth in a spirit of chauvinism, this imaginary Armenian history was elevated to the level of State policy. Our younger generation, educated in the spirit of the great humanitarian ideals of Azerbaijani literature and culture, found themselves the target of persecution in the form of an extremist Armenian ideology.
As the ideological basis for political and military aggression, a policy of slanderous defamation was directed against the spiritual values, national honor and dignity of the Azerbaijani people. The Armenians used the Soviet press to distort historical facts, thereby misleading public opinion.
The leadership of the Republic of Azerbaijan failed to come up with a timely and proper assessment of the anti-Azerbaijani propaganda campaign which was being waged by the Armenians, using the possibilities afforded by the Soviet regime, and which, beginning in the mid-1980s, became more and more intensive.
Officials in the Republic also failed to deliver a correct political assessment of the expulsion, at the initial stage of the so-called Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that arose in 1988, of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis from their ancestral lands. The Armenians’ unconstitutional decree on the inclusion of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region of Azerbaijan within the Armenian SSR, and what amounted in effect to the removal of this region from Azerbaijani authority by means of the Moscow-installed Committee for Special Administration, was greeted by our people with indignation, and they found themselves confronted with the need to undertake serious political action. Despite the fact that the policy of seizing our land was resolutely condemned at meetings held at that time throughout the Republic, the Azerbaijani leadership did not abandon its position of passivity. It was in fact as a result of this failed response that troops were brought into Baku in January 1990 for the purpose of putting down a popular movement that was constantly growing in strength. In the events that followed, hundreds of Azerbaijanis were killed, wounded or maimed, and others were subjected to various forms of physical duress.
In February 1992 the Armenians perpetrated an unheard-of punitive crime against the population of the town of Khojali. This bloody tragedy, which has entered our history as the Khojali Genocide, ended with the annihilation of thousands of Azerbaijanis, with others taken prisoner and the city erased from the face of the earth.
As a result of the adventurist policy unleashed by the Armenian national-separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh, today more than a million of our citizens have been expelled by the Armenian aggressors from their places of birth and have been forced to live in tent settlements. Thousands of our fellow-citizens died or were made invalids at the time of the occupation by Armenian armed forces of 20 per cent of our territory.
All the tragedies that have befallen Azerbaijan in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, accompanied by the seizure of our land, have been different stages of a conscious policy of genocide systematically applied by the Armenians against the Azerbaijani people. In the case of only one of these events – the March massacre of 1918 – has an attempt been made to assess what took place in political terms. The Republic of Azerbaijan regards it as a historical imperative that these events of genocide should be assessed from a political perspective and that the decisions that the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was unable to fully implement should be brought to their logical conclusion.
In commemoration of these tragedies of genocide perpetrated against the Azerbaijani people, I decree:
1. That the date 31 March shall be proclaimed Day of Genocide of the Azerbaijanis;
2. That it shall be recommended to the Milli Majlis (Parliament) of the Republic of Azerbaijan that it should consider holding a special session devoted to the events connected with the genocide of the Azerbaijanis.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Baku, March 26, 1998
Statement of Milli Majlis (Supreme Assembly) of the Republic of Azerbaijan in connection with the day of genocide of azerbaijanis
Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan noting great significance of the Decree “On genocide of Azerbaijanis” of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, His Excellency Mr. Heydar Aliyev as the first official document shed light on these dark pages of our history considers declaration of March, 31 – Day of the genocide of Azerbaijanis that was committed against Azerbaijanis 80 years ago, as political legal and moral action that recalls our national memory and stimulates history truth to be discovered and occupied its fitting place.
Facts of mass massacre – genocide committed against Azerbaijanis with unprecedented brutality after violent division of Azerbaijan were called by their right names in this significant document for the first time in our history, particularly roots of policy of ethnic hostility carried out in all Transcaucasian against Azerbaijani population in 1905-1907, 1918-1920, 1948-1953 and 1988-1993 by Armenian nationalists, nationalist circles and reactionary great powers supported them were disclosed, political assessment was given to ominous policy of anti-Azerbaijani powers which saw the main and real way to implement chimera about “Great Armenia” in destruction, deportation of Azerbaijanis who were natives of these territories along all history, in destruction of their historic and cultural monuments, rename the toponymies.
Transmigration of tens thousands of Armenians into Azerbaijan after concluding of Goulistan and Turkmenchay peace treaties legalized the occupation of Azerbaijan by tsarist Russia as well as gave them broader rights and privileges in comparison with local population on the basis of religious community that led to supplant of Azerbaijani population by Russian-Armenian alliance by all means. This process was intensified after beginning of activity of Armenian nationalist parties Dashnaksyutun and Gnchak and unification of fanatic Armenian mass under their nationalistic slogans. In 1905 after beginning of first revolution in Russia organized armed troops of Armenians became the first initiators in Caucasus such a terrible crime as genocide on ethnic basis. In 1905-1907 they implemented mass massacre of Azerbaijanis in Baku, Tiflis, Erivan, Nakhchivan, Ganja, Karabakh, Zangezur, burnt cities and villages, killed children, women, the elders with unprecedented brutality. Only in Shusha, Javanshir, Jabrail and Zangezur districts 75 Azerbaijani villages were razed to the ground in this period, and in Erivan and Ganja provinces more than 200 settlements were thoroughly destroyed and ravaged. Tens thousands Azerbaijanis who could escape brutality of Armenians were forced to leave their native lands. So, humiliating tradition of refugeeness history of which will soon amount to one century was founded.
Genocide policy committed against Azerbaijani people by Armenians have got broader scale in 1918 when Central government of tsarist Russia was collapsed and in circumstances of arbitrariness and anarchy former empire have lived its last days. The genocide of this period was committed in more organized way and with more brutality and merciless. Only in March – April of 1918 in Baku, Shamakha, Guba, Mugan, Lankaran Armenians killed more than 50 thousands Azerbaijanis, destroyed their homes, drove them out their native lands. Only in Baku 30 thousand of our compatriots were killed with particular merciless, in Shamakha district 58 villages were destroyed, about 7 thousands people were killed including 1653 women and 965 children. 122 Moslem villages were razed to the ground in Guba district, more than 150 Azerbaijani villages were destroyed in upland part of Karabakh, 115 villages – in Zangezur district, cruel violence were implemented against population without distinction in sex and age. 211 Azerbaijani villages were destroyed, burnt and ravaged in Erivan province, 92 – in Kars oblast (region). One of the numerous appeals of the Azerbaijanis of Erivan points that 88 villages were destroyed, 1920 were burnt, 132 thousand people were killed in this historic city. As a result of brutality carried out by Armenian troops, policy of “Armenia without Turks” pursued during period of Dashnaks’ rule, number of Azerbaijani population in Erivan district reduced from 375 thousand in 1916 to 70 thousand people in 1922. Apparently, as a result of genocide and wide-ranging ethnic cleanings Armenian nationalists in a short time largely could achieve their object.
Because of impunity of the crimes of genocide and not giving any political and legal assessment to them, Azerbaijanis repeatedly faced with antihuman policy carried out against them in period of Soviet rule, too. The obvious case of this elaborate discreditable policy is fate of Azerbaijanis lived on the territory of the Armenian SSR. As a result of “creeping” deportations as well as forced deportations in 1948-1953 and 1988-1989 about half million Azerbaijanis were expatriated from the Armenian SSR, and all their property was plundered.
Armenian expansion that began since 1988 and aggressive war and ethnic cleaning carried out by Armenians in Nagorny Karabakh increased number of victims of genocide of Azerbaijanis. As a result of it 20 percents of the territory of the Azerbaijani Republic were occupied, 18 thousand people were killed, more than 20 thousand people were wounded, more than 50 thousand people became invalids, more than 4 thousand people were taken as prisoners, hostages and missing, more than 4 industrial and agricultural enterprises, 660 schools and kindergartens, 250 hospitals and medical institutions were destroyed, 724 cities, villages and settlements were plundered, destroyed and burnt. As a result of Khojali tragedy that is the most terrible crime of the century Armenians completely destroyed large inhabited locality, 613 people of peaceful population were brutally killed including 63 infants, 106 women, 487 people became cripples, 1275 inhabitants including elders, children and women were taken as prisoners and subjected to unprecedented tortures, insults and humiliation.
As a result of this only at the XX century more than 2 million Azerbaijanis have felt policy of genocide carried out by Armenian nationalistic circles and their protectors on their own backs. It can be said there is no family in Azerbaijan that has not suffered as a result of Armenian nationalism.
In the name of triumph of truth and justice and with the aim to prevent new crimes of genocide against Azerbaijanis Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan states that Azerbaijani state strongly following the path of democracy will use all available means and ways to inform world community about crimes of genocide repeatedly carried out in XIX-XX centuries against Azerbaijanis by Armenian nationalism and its advocates with anti-Azerbaijani orientation.
Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan taking into consideration that the crimes of genocide carried out against Azerbaijanis have still not been punished and lack of information about it in international community appeals to UN, Inter-Parliament Union, Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Council of Europe, Commonwealth of Independent States, other international organizations, parliaments and governments of the states of the world with request:
1. To admit the crimes of genocide carried out by Armenian nationalists and their protectors against Azerbaijanis in XIX-XX centuries;
2. To complete the work on creation of efficient international legal mechanisms for providing inevitability of immunity for the crimes of genocide in the near future;
3. With aim to prevent new crimes of genocide against Azerbaijanis, to promote peaceful fair resolution of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict within the frames of OSCE Minsk Group.
(The statement was adopted at the session of Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan on March, 31, 1998)