31 March genocide

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.

Historic Information

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.

Heydar Aliyev
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)