Having been inspired by the victory of the Iranian- Russian war (1826-1828), on June 14, 1828 Paskevich troops attacked Western Anatolia with an army of 12,000 soldiers by crossing the Arpachai river near Gumru and seized the Kars Castle on June 23.
They continued their attacks capturing Axalkay on June 24, Axiska – on August 15, Erdahan – on August 22, and Beyazid – on August 28. In summer 1828, the Russian Army also captured Erzurum, Mush, Oltunu and Bayburt.
Armenian troops and the Armenians, living in Western Anatolia, played an important part in the victory of the Russian army over the Turkish troops. In the Armenian region, established at the beginning of the war, infantry and cavalry detachments consisting of 2,800 were formed. In most cases, these detachments were on the frontlines fighting for the Russian Army. After the first two Russian-Iranian wars the Azerbaijani Turks from the territory of the Irevan Khan state (city- state of Armenia) took refuge in Eastern Anatolia, which was under control of Turks (the territory of Turkey).
In 1801, the Russians occupied Georgia. During that time, the so-called terekeme Turks of Borchali, Kazakh and Karapapack (all Turkish origin) took refuge in the villages of Childir and Arpachai. It were the Azerbaijanis who were slaughtered and suffered most during the Russian attacks in Eastern Anatolia and they were also the ones who were forced to resettle. Using the official documents in his research, the Turkish historian Kemal Beydili described the tragedy of refugees (in general and Azerbaijani in particular) of that period on “The Armenian resettlement from Eastern Anatolia to Russia during the Ottoman-Russian war in 1828-1829”. He told, “Having seen that the way forward is free, the Armenians, who had occupied Erzurum, moved towards Beyburd and terrorized the surrounding villages. The people living around had two choices – to surrender to Russians, set off to unknown destinations, or scatter. Hence those living in Kars and Axiska took refuge in the villages around Erzurum and Erzinjan, made their way to Eastern Karahisar and its outskirts”.
In August 1829, the Russian army, coming from the Balkan frontline, approached Istanbul. Sultan Mahmud II asked for peace. Thus on September 2 the Edirne Treaty was signed. According to the Treaty, Axalkelek and Ahiska (now part of Georgia) became part of Russia. The other occupied territories of Eastern Anatolia were decided to be given back to Turkey. According to article 13 of the Edirne Treaty, Armenians who were staying on the occupied Turkish territories, were given a right to enter Russia freely with their belongings over period of 18 months. When the Russian army started withdrawal from Kars, Erdahan, Beyazid, Erzurum and other regions, Turkish Armenians, who betrayed Turkey, had found them in a desperate situation. In order to save Armenians from this situation, the commanders of the Russian troops began to resettle Armenians to newly occupied Russian territories, thereby creating a Christian majority along the Russian- Turkish border. On October 10, 1829, Paskevich reported the tsar Nickolai I that “the 2,000 Armenians fought in the ranks with our soldiers in Beyazid…
In Erzurum the majority of Christian population celebrated their religious holiday… A battalion, consisting of volunteers Armenians, was organized in Kars. Inevitable danger hung over their families numbering in 10,000… Please take care of these unhappy victims and do not let Ottomans take vengeance on Armenians who showed their love for Russia… That is why I dare to ask you to give me the power to resettle the Armenians in Georgia and Armenia. In my opinion approximately 50 silver rubles (Russian currency) for each family will be enough.”
On November 18 the military minister, Chernishev in his reply to Paskevich, noted that the Tsar liked his proposal. Immediately after that, Paskevich started to act. In his letter to the estate Governor of Georgia Paskevich noted that with his permission the Christians living in the Turkish Empire, who wanted to resettle in Russia and Georgia without demanding any financial assistance, would be provided with passes to embark (to set off) by local troop commanders. Many refugees used it as a means to embark to their new destinations in the Russian territory. Resettles from Kars and its surrounding villages settled in Alayaz (Alagoz) which had a similar climate. General Pankratyev informed Paskevich that 95 families were given passes to resettle in Loru Canyon. In addition, major-general Bereman informed Paskevich that he provided asses to 4,000 families who left Kars and were making their way to Gumru. Paskevich organized a special committee to manage the resettlement. The committee had to obey to by- laws of the 12 articles. They were the following:
1.The resettlement Committee had to give orders concerning the migrants as they were entering the Russian territory.
2. The Committee was to continue acting until the resettlement process ended. Also, assist the farmers with starting new farms. The Committee should give a report to the chief commandment and from there on desist.
3. The Committee was to immediately start collecting information about the land grants from the Georgian government and surrounding regions.
4. All the migrants should be divided into groups: 1) merchants and second- hand dealers; 2) craftsmen; 3) farmers. During the resettlement, merchants and artisans should be settled in cities or urban areas where they can set up businesses. The farmers should be settled in the country hence climate conditions should be taken into account. Yelizavetpol (now Ganja) and other cities and regions have some unsettled areas. In addition, the committee can settle artisans and merchants there.
5. The Committee while demanding the lists of migrants from Turkey should also demands information about the migrants’ origins and their occupations.
6. The Committee should try to resettle the farmers as a whole, but if this is not impossible, they should be resettled in groups based on origin.
7. The Committee should provide the settlers with an adequate amount of land.
8. The settlers should be settled on state lands as a whole, but in case if there is not enough land to go around, they can be settled on the land belonging to church and privately owned properties.
9. The settlers should be free from taxes over a six-year- period and free from land duties over a period of 3 years.
10. Mixing of newly resettled Christian villages with Muslim villages should be avoided. For Muslims separate districts should be formed.
11. While resettling it is important to choose places, which are comfortable to live in, beautiful and have clean drinking water.
12. Each family should be given approximately 25 rubles in silver (Russian currency).
Time given for the resettlement by this order was followed closely to the letter. In present Armenia and Georgia, as well as in Azerbaijani regions like Ganjabasar and Karabagh, resettled Armenians were settled side by side forming close-knit communities in beautiful villages, warm climates, in mountain valleys, which had pure water, and in good cities.
On January 22, 1830 in Paskevich’s order to Chernishev, it was noted that according to his instruction 2,500 resettled families from Kars and its surrounding regions were settled in the abandoned villages of Eleyez, where climate was similar to their former homelands.
The Turkish government showed a concern about resettling from its territories of the Armenians who were dispersed throughout its territory but were now compacted into one area along the borderline. Thus, the Turks decided to forgive Armenians’ betrayal and massacres, as a strategic move against the Russians. It was also decided not to make them answerable for anything. On February 17, an amnesty for local Armenians was announced. Notwithstanding this the katalikos of Erzurum Armenians realized the severity of the crimes committed. Fie was sure that they would be held accountable for everything.
Turkey sent overt and covert agents to Erzurum, Kars, Eleshirg and other paces, which were occupied by Russians or Armenians, but then were rescued, in order to stop the Armenian emigration. Pankratyev, who was the head of the resettlement on the occupied territories, sent a complaint letter to Paslcevich in which he noted that obstacles were put in order to prevent the emigration of the Armenians from Erzurum. In addition, Turks obstructed Armenians from selling their belongings and lands.
In order to resolve the question of the sale of Armenian lands, Paslcevich sent major Vannikov as a representative to Erzurum. However, some time ago, i.e. during the war, the Armenian villages had been once Muslim ones. Armenians had to resettle in safe places; these were bought them from Muslims. For example, in Kars, the Armenians took possession of over 80 villages in their entirety and another 15 villages were partially overtaken. Meanwhile the Turkish were leaving the territories occupied by Russia (namely Axalkelek and Axiska). Income made from selling of belongings and lands of the Turkish evacuating the territories, which were occupied by Russians, and entering Turkey were not given compensation for them properly.
Vagif Arzumanly, Nazim Mustafa. Black pages of the history. Baku, 1998, p.33-38. Translated from Azerbaijani language
According to a UNESCO decision, the Mugham of Azerbaijan has been proclaimed a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. In Azerbaijan proper, where the Mugham is perceived as an integral part of a system of fundamental cultural values of the Azerbaijani people, this decision is viewed both as a recognition of the merits by outstanding representatives of the genre and as a desire to attract the attention of the world’s cultural community to this unique heritage.
The book titled “Nagorno Karabakh: facts versus lies” (Нагорный Карабах: факты против лжи) by Arsen Malik-Shahnazarov, advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the so-called Nagorno Karabakh Republic since 1993, was printed in 3,000 copies by Volshebniy Fonar publishing house (Moscow).