"The army is a pillar of our country, nation,
state independence!"
Heydar Aliyev

March 31 - Day of Genocide of Azerbaijanis

1918-1920 EVENTS, THE MARCH GENOCIDE

In March 1918 the leader of the Russian Bolsheviks Vladimir Lenin appointed Bolshevik Stepan Shaumyan as the Special Commissioner for the Caucasus, and sent him off to Baku. The Bolsheviks, seeking to take over the power in Baku, enabled environment for the secret intentions of the armed militia of the Armenian Dashnaks. A massacre of the Azerbaijanis ensued in Baku on March 31st. Stepan Shaumyan later admitted that the massacre of the peaceful Azerbaijanis involved six thousand armed troopers of the Baku Soviet (Council), as well as 3-4 thousand strong armed militia of the «Dashnaksutyun» party.

 

The three day long massacre the Armenian militants, with the help of the Bolsheviks, would spring into the Azerbaijani neighborhoods, and murdered the people, young and old alike. A German national named Kulner, who had the misfortune to eye-witness the atrocious murder spree, wrote in 1925 about the Baku events: «The Armenians would burst into the Muslim (Azerbaijani) neighborhoods, and slaughtered every single person in their way, slashing with sabres, and piercing with bayonets. A few days after the massacre the bodies of 87 Azerbaijanis were recovered from a ravine, and they all had their ears and noses severed, their stomachs ripped open, their sex organs sliced and smashed. The Armenians did not spare children and old men alike».

 

 

Overall, two massacres committed by the Armenians in the South Caucasus in the first half of the 19th century (1905-1907, 1918-1920) claimed the lives of, or drove away from their homes up to 2 million Azerbaijanis.

 

57 slaughtered Azerbaijani women were recovered from just one place in Baku in the wake of the March massacre, with their ears and noses cut off, and stomachs ripped open. Young women were nailed to walls while still alive, two thousand people who found shelter in a city hospital from the Armenian assault were burned alive.

 

The Armenians even placed machine guns in special locations to shoot anyone who would try to flee the town.

 

An American agronomist Leonard Ramsden Hartvill wrote a book called «People are like this» based on the memories of an Armenian officer Ovanes Apresyan who had been an active participant of the Azerbaijani massacres in the Irevan province, Sharur-Daralayaz, Surmali, Kars and other regions. In his conversations with the book's author, Ovanes Apresyan noted that the Armenians accomplished their goals witht he help of the English and the Russians, and claimed that twenty five thousand Azerbaijanis were killed only in Baku during the March genocide events.

 

The Dashnaki genocide of Azerbaijanis was not limited to Baku only. Shortly after, Shemakha, Guba, Irevan, Zangezur, Garabagh, Nakhichevan, and Kars also witnessed bloody slaughtering of Azerbaijanis.

In March-April 1918 up to 8 thousand of peaceful residents of Shemakha were murdered. Most cultural monuments, including the Juma (Friday) Mosque of Shemakha were burned and destroyed.

28 villages of the Javanshir region, and 17 villages of the Jabrayil region were completely burned down, and their residents annihilated.

 

On April 29, 1918, a 3 thousand strong Azerbaijani caravan, constiting mostly of women, children and old men, was ambushed and every single person was slaughtered near Gumru

 

The Armenian militants burned down a few villages in the region of Nakhichevan, destroyed 115 Azerbaijani villages in the Zangezur region, murdering 3257 men, 2276 women and 2196 children. Overall, the region's death or injury toll counted 10068 Azerbaijanis, while 50000 Azerbaijanis fled as refugees.

 

135 thousand Azerbaijani residents of 199 villages of the Irevan province were killed, and the villages were razed to the ground. Afterwards the Armenian militants marched to Garabagh, destroying 150 villages in the highlands of Garabagh, with their residents murdered. (The ADR Government, from the case files of the Extraordinary Investigative Commission).

 

In May 1920 the Armenians, jointly with the 11th Red Army murdered over 12 thousand Azerbaijanis in Ganja.

 

 

As the Soviet and Iranian relations were being discussed during the 1943 Tehran conference, the Armenian diaspora requested V. Molotov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, USSR, to have the Armenians living in Iran relocated to the USSR. Molotov brought this up to the Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR, J. Stalin, and a consent was granted for the Armenian relocation. G. Arutyunov, Secretary of the Armenian Communist Party's Central Committee, used this opportunity and managed to get an ordinance passed that effectively forced Azerbaijanis out of Armenia under the false pretense of relocating Armenians from foreign countries to Armenia. On December 23, 1947 the USSR Council of Ministers passed a directive «On relocating collective farmers and other Azerbaijani nationals from the Armenian SSR to the Kura-Araz lowland of the Azerbaijan SSR».

 

In course of another deportation of the Azerbaijanis ordered by Stalin in 1948-1953 the Armenians focused primarily on vacating economically, socially and culturally strong Azerbaijani settlements of strategic significance. In this context, the settlements near the city of Irevan (presently Yerevan) were 'cleansed' from the Azerbaijani residents, following by the cleansing of regional centres, adjacent villages and towns. As a part of the population deported lived in the highland areas of Armenia they had a real hard time adapting to the climate of the Kura-Araz lowland. As a result, numerous deaths were reported among the tens of thousands of Azerbaijanis resettled to the Kura-Araz lowland.

 

On the other hand, not a single Azerbaijani deported from Armenia was admitted to Nagorno Garabagh. On the contrary, the action plan of vacating this territory of Azerbaijanis with a view to realizing the «Great Armenia» idea was continued on a fast track, resulting in 132 families (549 people) forced out of Nagorno Garabagh to the region of Khanlar, Azerbaijan, in 1949, under the false pretense of internal relocation.

 

In the meantime, the Armenians swiftly worked to rename the Azerbaijani towns and villages, shut down schools and cultural centers, and uniting different regions. 60 Azerbaijani settlements were renamed in 1947-1953. All in all, hundreds of Turkic-origin settlements in Armenia were renamed during the period of 1921-1988.

 

The cunning device the Armenians employed during the deportation was that while the regions and towns were vacated from the Azerbaijani population they still retained a small portion of Azerbaijani nationals in those places. This remaining minority was fully removed in the next phase - in course of the complete 'cleansing' of Armenia of Azerbaijanis.

 

Deportation of Azerbaijanis from Armenia in 1988-1989

 

The Armenians started executing their policy of «Turk-free Armenia» from January 1988. In the process of driving the Azerbaijanis out and away, the Armenian government, «Garabagh» and «Krunk» committees, members of the Ichmiyadzin church, with the protection and support from the USSR leadership, committed thousands of bloody actions. As a result of ethnic cleansing, 185 settlements were vacated in Armenia, over 250 thousand Azerbaijanis and 18 thousand Kurds forced out of their homes, 217 Azerbaijanis were killed by Armenians. Of these, 49 froze to death in mountains as they escaped Armenians, 41 were beaten and bludgeoned to death, 35 were tortured to death, 115 were burned, 16 were shot, 10 people died of heart attacks unable to withstand torture any more, 2 more were killed in hospitals by doctors, while the others were drowned, electrocuted and disemboweled.

 

Khojaly Genocide

 

One of the most terrifying tragedies the Azerbaijani nation had to encounter in the 20th century was the Khojaly genocide. The Khojaly tragedy is a bloody event that has made it to the mankind's history along with the genocidal events as horrible as Khatin, Lidisa, Oradur.

 

On the night of February 25 to 26, 1992, Armenian armed forces, together with the Armenian armed groups operating in Azerbaijan's Nagorno Garabagh, and with direct involvement of the personnel and machinery of the 366th Motorized Regiment of the former USSR, located in Khankendi, took over the town of Khojaly, located in between Khankendi and Askeran, and brutally slaughtered the Azerbaijani people of the town. 613 peaceful residents of the town were atrociously killed and tortured to death in the conquest, including 63 children, 106 women, 70 old men - people were decapitated, their eyes were cut out, pregrant women's stomach were pierced with bayonets.

 

State Committee for Prisoners of War, Missing Persons and Captives

 

REFUGEES AND INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS

 

As a result of the systematic execution of the latest ethnic cleansing policy conducted by Armenia in 1988-1992, 250 thousand Azerbaijani who had historically lived in Armenia were driven away from their homes and ran off to Azerbaijan for shelter.

 

Also, up to 50 thousand Meskheti Turks forced out of Central Asia in 1990 also sought shelter in Azerbaijan.

 

From 1988, the Armenians started executing their plan of forcing Azerbaijanis out of the 126 villages in Nagorno Garabagh, an integral part of Azerbaijan. This was the time one of the most terrifying events of the 20th century took place - the town of Khojaly, inhabited by some 6 thousand Azerbaijanis, in Nagorno Garabagh, was destroyed in just one night by the Armenian armed forces, with the help of the Soviet troops, with 613 peaceful residents atrociously, brutally murdered, and 150 people gone missing. 1000 peaceful individuals were injured to different degrees of severity in this bloody affairs, while 1275 people - old people, women and children, were captivated, and had to endure horrible insults, suffering and humiliation.

 

As a result of the Armenian armed forces' military invasion in our country starting from 1988, 20% of Azerbaijan's lands, including Nagorno Garabagh and adjacent 7 regions, were occupied, with over 600 thousand of our compatriots from the adjacent regions of Nagorno Garabagh forced out of their homes, to become internally displaced persons, and found temporary residence in over 1600 compact living quarters in 62 towns and regions across the country.

 

Furthermore, over 100 thousand of our compatriots also had to flee their homes, fearing for their safety, in  different towns and villages of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhichevan, Agjabadei, Aghdam, Agstafa, Fizuli, Terter, Goranboy, Gedabey, Gazakh and Tovuz, due to the proximity of the border with Armenia or Nagorno Garabagh.

 

There are also up to 11 thousand shelter / asylum seekers in Azerbaijan. Most of them are Russian citizens of Chechen origin, people of Iran, Iraq, Palestne. Thus, Azerbaijan currently has up to one million refugees, internally displaced persons and shelter / asylum seekers.

 

The Armenian military invasion of 1988-1992 killed 20 thousand Azerbaijanis, with 100 thousand wounded, 50 thousand injured and disabled to varying degrees of severity.

 

During the conflict 4852 people (including 54 children, 323 women, 410 old people) went missing, of which 1368 people (including 169 children, 338 women, 286 old people) were liberated from captivity, 783 peopple (including 18 children, 46 women, 69 old people) still remain in captivity in Armenia. According to the International Red Cross Committee, 439 people died in captivity.

 

It is quite impossible to quantify the damage done by the Armenian aggressors to the national cultural centers of Azerbaijan in Nagorno Garabagh and adjacent regions. Because the cultural and historical monuments that were destroyed represented tremendous cultural value for the entire mankind, not just Azerbaijan. According to preliminary and not yet fully confirmed data, Azerbaijan's economy, coupled with the moral and psychological damages, incurred over 60 billion US Dollars in damages.

 

State Committee for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons