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Military-political situation in Nakhchivan. Part I

After the establishment of Soviet power in Baku, the situation in Nakhchivan remained very difficult and contradictory. The Communists, who were sent by the Central Committee of the AKP to Nakhchivan, had to conduct active propaganda among the population of the ideas of Soviet power together with the local Bolsheviks. So, authorized XI Red Army comrade. On June 24, 1920, Buniyat-Zade telegraphed the chairman of the Azrevkom N. Narimanov the following: “Soviet power in Nakhchivan: joins the Soviet power of Azerbaijan; there is complete order.” However, in reality the situation in the region was not yet stable for the Bolsheviks. The real power in Nakhchivan was still in the hands of the National Committee and there were still units of Turkish troops led by Khalil-bek.


In such a situation, the Azerbaijani population of Sharur raised an uprising in protest against the criminal actions of the Dashnak detachments. The Azerbaijani peasants of the Iravan district joined the rebellious Sharurs. They demanded to put an end to the atrocities of the Dashnaks. Armed detachments led by Kelbali Khan and Khalil-bek, sent by the Nakhchivan National Committee, arrived to help the rebels. In Azerbaijani Soviet historiography, these events were covered as follows: “Frightened by the scale of the uprising, Kelbali Khan and Khalil Bek tried to subordinate it to their goals and turn it into another interethnic clash. They captured the Sharur district and began to move deep into the Irevan district. It is necessary to consider in detail the position of Turkey in this region and the relationship of its military command with the leadership of the XI Red Army. Numerous distortions of facts and events were made in the coverage of these issues in Soviet historiography. As is known, at that time the people of Turkey waged a national liberation struggle against the Entente countries for their independence and territorial integrity. Despite this, the government of Mustafa Kemal Pasha Ataturk also sought to protect the territorial integrity of fraternal Azerbaijan. Turkish historian M.Saray writes: “After April 27, 1920, Mustafa Kemal Pasha could not remain indifferent to the fate of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani Turks were a bridge connecting Turkey with the Turks under Russian rule. Mustafa Kemal Pasha expressed concern that Soviet Russia was trying to create an Armenian state between Turkey and Azerbaijan. Ata-Turk wrote in a letter to Karabekir Pasha: “Azerbaijan must be a truly independent state. The Russians need to be made aware that the policy they pursue in Azerbaijan will be the main indicator of the attitude of the Islamic world towards them.” The position of the government of M.Kemal Pasha is vividly expressed in his statements: “We want the creation of an Independent Azerbaijan State. We must establish the necessary contacts with the Russians on this matter… It is necessary to ensure that some regions, such as Karabakh, are in the zone of influence of the Azerbaijani State.”

On June 9, 1920, the Eastern Front of the Turkish Army was created, headed by Karabekir Pasha. The number of the army of the Eastern Front was 22 thousand people. The representative of the Eastern Front, Veysal bey Unuvar, was appointed commander of the Turkish troops in Nakhchivan, whose headquarters was in the village of Shakhtakhty and was located along the border – from Ordubad to the Arazdayan station. The number of Turkish troops was several times greater than the number of Red Army detachments. Responsible for political work in the Turkish troops located in the territory of Nakhchivan, Veysal bey assured that his army arrived in this land at the request of the elders of Sharur-Daralagez, Nakhchivan, Ordubad, and that their main goal is to save these places from constant threats from the Dashnak army, protect the honor of mothers and sisters, hoist the banner of peace here forever.

Realizing the real threat to the region posed by the actions of the Armenians, at the end of June, the Bayazet Turkish division, in the amount of up to 9000 bayonets under the command of Javid Bey, began to occupy the Nakhchivan-Julfa-Ordubad region and its advanced units in the amount of 3000 bayonets arrived in Shakhtakhty-Nakhchivan region. In Soviet Azerbaijani historiography, these steps of the Turkish government were assessed as predatory. Thus, in the third volume of the “History of Azerbaijan” we read: “Under the pretext of fighting the Dashnaks, Turkish troops also captured part of the territory of Azerbaijan, incl. city ​​of Nakhchivan.

In reality, as can be seen from the correspondence of the command of the Eastern Front of the Turkish troops with the leadership of the XI Red Army, the government of M. Kemal Pasha in joint military operations with Soviet Russia pursued the goal of preventing the capture of Zangezur and Nakhchivan by the Armenians. On July 7, 1920, representatives of the Bayazet division arrived from Nakhchivan to Gerus with a request for the speedy movement of Russian red units to the Nakhchivan-Ordubad line with the aim of joint actions against the Armenians moving from Irevan to Nakhchivan. On July 13, 1920, at a meeting of the Bureau of the Central Committee of the AKP, during the consideration of the issue of Nakhchivan, a resolution was adopted: troops. For negotiations with Khalil Pasha, to resolve this issue, appoint: Narimanov, Mikoyan, Karaev, Naneishvili and Huseynov. Two days after this decision, on July 15, at a meeting of the Bureau of the Central Committee of the AKP with the participation of Yegorov, Mikoyan, Karaev, Ordzhonikidze and others, a new resolution was adopted, which supplemented the first: “2) Refuse Nakhchivan and others, propose to occupy them with Russian troops.” The command of the XI Red Army, which implemented the policy of Soviet Russia in the region, ordered its representatives to maintain warm relations with the Turkish military units, but at the same time, not to take any action against the Armenian forces without receiving directives from the center. On July 16, 1920, the commander of the XI Red Army ordered the heads of the 28th rifle and 18th cavalry divisions to get in touch with the commander of the Turkish Bayazet division in order to find out the intentions of the Turkish troops and their relationship with the Dashnaks. The report sent by the Extraordinary Commissar of the Nakhchivan region to the Military Revolutionary Council of the XI Red Army stated: “After sending the Red Brigade to Nakhchivan, we were given an oral order by the center to maintain close contact with the Turkish units located in Nakhchivan and to help strengthen fraternal ties between Soviet Russia , Azerbaijan and revolutionary Turkey, for our region is the nearest point and connecting link. Feeling the approach of the moment of the occupation of the region, G. Ordzhonikidze and S. Kirov, in their telephone order to the commander of the 18th division of the XI Red Army, demanded “as soon as possible, with a mortal blow, to put an end to the Dashnaks and other anti-Soviet and anti-people groups in the Nakhchivan region.”


The appeal of the representatives of the peasants of Nakhchivan to the governments of the RSFSR and Soviet Azerbaijan said: “We, along with the Dashnaks, blame the bloody Entente, we ask the workers’ and peasants’ government and the Red Army to remove the Dashnaks and this devilish hand of the Entente from our edges and save at least the surviving part of our citizens and come to the aid of our refugees, let us and our Armenian neighbors breathe freely.” After a certain military training, units of the XI Red Army entered Nakhchivan. In the telegram of the commander of the united troops of the RSFSR and Turkey, Tarkhanov, sent to Irevan on July 30, 1920, it was said: “On July 28, 1920, the red troops of the RSFSR, as well as the troops of Red Turkey allied to us, by virtue of this order, entered the city of Nakhchivan completely abandoned by the inhabitants and its regions, not having the purpose of military operations against Armenia. According to reports, the troops entrusted to you intend to launch an attack on the city of Nakhchivan in order to bring it to fire and sword. In order to avoid misunderstanding and aimless shedding of blood, which could entail consequences of national importance, we inform you that we have occupied Nakhchivan and its environs.” On the same day, July 28, the Nakhchivan Revolutionary Committee appealed to the workers and peasants with an appeal in which they announced the establishment of Soviet power in Nakhchivan, and the Revolutionary Committee was its supreme authority. On August 10, 1920, the Nakhchivan Revolutionary Committee sent a letter to the Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Azerbaijan SSR N. Narimanov, which stated: “By the decision of the vast majority of the Nakhchivan people, the Nakhchivan Territory recognized itself as an integral part of the Azerbaijan SSR.” In his speech at the II Congress of the AKP) in October 1920, N. Narimanov, referring to the issue of establishing Soviet power in Nakhchivan, said: “Comrades, the Nakhchivan region, this is the region of the Caucasus, which experienced all the vileness of the Dashnaktsakans. This region, on the one hand, really defended itself from the attacks of the Dashnaktsakans, and on the other hand, from the formidable hordes of the Persians.