Should the establishment of public order in the Transcaucasia depend on the establishment of order in three republics, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, this matter would not have seemed so complicated; just a little color would be enough to mark he borders easily. Peace would have been established both in Azerbaijan, and Georgia, and though some collisions still take place in some parts of Armenia, arrival of the US military mission would end them.
However, the matters construed as the most important, present certain difficulties.
For example, in one Azerbaijan town numerous Armenian population tends to obey the Armenian authorities, only, while the Moslems being the popular majority in a town of current Armenia are recusant to the Armenian laws. Plebiscites spoken about would undoubtedly bring to appearance of many smaller countries, both Moslem and Christian, all over the world.
One of the most complicated issues was Karabakh, the Elizavetpol administrative unit. This matter was solved just recently. At a banquet lain on in Baku, the Tartar and Armenian delegates arrived at the decision of putting daggers into sheaths.
Today the peace reigns in Karabakh. According to the locals they have never lived in such peace and quiet before.
The Karabakh matter pertained to the town and region of Shusha. Geographically, Karabakh must really belong to claiming its rights Azerbaijan. But the major population of Shusha is represented by the Armenians, who claim preference to death before obedience to the Moslems. Maybe it would be worth saying that this is stated by the Armenian leaders insisting on the lacking, so far, reliable evidence of historical belonging of Shusha to Armenia and overlooking the fact that even the history should be put aside when the geographical reorganization of the whole world is the matter.
Armenian leaders were of no avail advised to maintain peace and wait for the time when the Paris Conference would determine the polity. They cried out their preference of death before even temporary obedience to Azerbaijan. And their influence on the local Armenians was so high that the clashes between them and the Tartars began and many of them, except for the leaders, were killed. Since their agitation brought the fruits, they flew off, not waiting for the crop.
Armenians are the greatest propagandists in the world. Their agitations have not been the matter of recent months, but were regularly propagandized for long years. Neither in Russia, nor in the Caucasus one may find a man who would say a good word about the Armenians. Russians, Tartars and Georgians scorn and hate them. Whether it is true or not, it is not me to judge, but the present fact is: Armenians are the hated race.
However, their overseas propaganda is so skilled that Europe and the whole world keep their side.
Of course, they had suffered a lot, but thousands of Moslem men, women and children underwent much suffering from them, as well. Armenians undoubtedly underwent cruelty, but the relentless savagery brought by them to Moslem villages can not be compared to the harm caused to them by Turks. They did the same with Tartars and suffered from the latter when their turn came. In this regard, Armenians are worth of Tartars.
Generally speaking, Tartars are much over Armenians, and of course, more courageous.
Having studied the Karabakh issue in detail, I say, with certainty, that the malicious propaganda was the reason of the major disorders.
People of the both countries were ready to continue their track peacefully and would have done it should the agitators not interfere. I am also sure that the latter are responsible for the Armenian-Azeri slaughter in the other parts of the Transcaucasia. The Armenian propagandist makes his job scrupulously, as it concerns the propaganda, but in Transcaucasia his activities are often a mere provocation.
There are examples to this. The press is, certainly, the best tribune for the agitator. The hypnotism inherent to the printed matter makes the reader to believe it. Two daily Armenian newspapers are published in Tiflis, I mean those published in the Armenian language; some others belong to Armenians or are supported by them. Two-three months before one of the Armenian newspapers placed the information about the slaughter caused to Armenians in Karabakh, in the north Persia, the border of Azerbaijan.
The article said that over three thousand people had been killed. I made inquiries on the matter and met with the newspaper editor, or, to be more correct, with one of the editors, as the newspapers in that region are usually edited not by one person, but by the board. I asked him about the slaughter.
He explained that an Armenian had come to the editorial office a couple of days before and told that story. "Well, but when did this slaughter take place?" asked I. Ht didn’t know. I began arguing that the words "where" and "when" are the two most important questions in the newspaper business. He answered that he had never troubled himself to ask about the time of this event. Finally, after long explanations, I found out that the slaughter happened in November of 1918, when that region was under the Turks’ occupation and the population was bushwhacking them.
Moreover, I learnt that the number of the victims was not 3 thousand, but maximum 300. I have also found out that after several weeks from the event it had been already duly reflected in the press.
That same week, another Armenian newspaper informed that the English leave Caucasus and that "pursuant to the agreement with the British government, 50 thousand Turks will be sent to replace the British troops". To discuss the matter, I, of course, had to meet the editor, again. He, the editor, personifies many, but I saw him in all the appearances. My question was: "Do you believe this incredible information?" "No" was the answer. "Then why have you placed it?" They answered (in chorus) that there was too little information, and they had to publish all the news received, independent whether they were true or wrong. And, they added that "We always feel it our duty to overturn the wrong information in the consequent issue". Approximately at the same time this newspaper published the report of the interview between Premier Jordania and Thompson (the commander of the British troops in Tiflis at that time). It said that "General Thompson said to Jordania that the decision was made at the Peace Conference to give Georgia back to Russia and that only Armenia will be the independent country". For several minutes Jordania could not utter a word, and then he began mploring Thompson not to disclose this news in order to prevent consequent strong disorders among the people. General Thompson promised to keep the news "close".
The whole story about this interview is a fiction, and it was refuted in the consequent issue. But the harm had been already done. Even assuming that these facts described by the newspaper were real, it presented the information Premier Jordania requested Thomson not to disclose. The abovementioned are only three examples. Lots of others could be stated. The Armenia press is full of stories about the slaughter, cruelty and anti-Tartar propaganda. It contains many provocations and is, undoubtedly, responsible for many current conflicts in the Caucasus and Armenia.
When in January I visited Shusha, I told one English officer about my intention to go to Zangezur region in order to see at first-hand the situation of approximately 40 thousand Moslem refugees who had suffered from the Armenians cruelty. I also learnt that no English had ever been to that place; it was decided that I would go there in three days. On the eve of my leave for Zangezur, an officer advised me no to go there. He told that "no English officer may go there alone. Unless you have well equipped guards, it is too dangerous". There were talks that the Moslems in Zangezur were against the English, that the Turkish officers and troops were in that region, so, in one word, it was infectious place of the sound part of the world. The fact that the officer’s interpreter was an Armenian justified my future actions. I decided that I would go. I have never before been welcomed with hospitality offered to me by the Moslems of Zangezur. In none of my travels have I been met so friendly.
Whoever I met expressed his unreserved admiration of the English. I was treated like the ambassador. I left my hospitable hosts with deep regret, but I had to leave alone as no one would agree to accompany me in my travel over the country inhabited by Armenians. They were afraid of being shot. I was not, though when I left the Tatar line for the Armenian side I was, of course, shot at. I headed to the Geruzi town, where the Armenian rebel, Andranik lived at that time. I stayed one day there and the next day left for Shusha on my way to Baku. Andranik gave me a horse and an Armenian soldier to accompany me. It was determined that I would spend a night in Abdalyar, the Tartar village halfway between Geruzi and Shusha. The Armenian soldier was to take the horse given to me by Andronik back, as I hoped to find there another one. He was a good fellow this Armenian, ex-soldier of Russian army who had fought in several fronts.
When we approached Abdalyar, he began showing symptoms of unrest. When just several meters separated us from the village, he said that he wouldn’t accompany me further. I asked why. Because he would be killed by Tartars, said he. Answer to my question of why he thought so was: "I read about it in our newspapers". And I, being a journalist, had to convince him not to believe everything he read in the newspapers. I told him that he would be safe and convinced him to go with me. We safely reached the village. I was provided with a small cottage and the Armenian jointly with the Tartar took the horses to the stable. After a glass of tea and light meal I went out of my cottage to check how the Armenian was. I found him in another cottage sitting by the fire among a group of the Tartar militiamen whom that cottage belonged to.
They all were drinking tea, smoking and laughing like good friends. In the morning, when the Armenian was leaving for Geruzi, I saw the tartars shaking his hand and heard them wishing each other good health and happiness.
I had to get a horse, both, for myself and my luggage, and besides, I needed an escort to get us back from Shusha to Abdalyar. A Tartar peasant was commanded by the militia to accompany me. He was afraid to go as he thought that the Armenians would kill him on our way. I calmed him down and was about to start when a middle-aged Armenian with the heavy-laden donkey approached me. I didn’t know where did he appear from, but I thought that he had spent a night near the village fearing to enter it in the dark. He told me that he was going to Shusha and was afraid that the Tartars would kill him on his way. I calm him down, also, and three of us were off, the most quizzical cavalcade ever seen to cross those hills. The short Armenian with his donkey, the Tartar with his horse laden with my luggage, and myself, a kind of the guardian angel and protector, with my "Kodak" camera being the most fearful weapon (luckily, my protégé didn’t know about it). We moved slowly because of the pack-horse pace. I rode silent whilst my companions were talking peacefully, sharing the tobacco and bread. Shortly they became friends and when parting in Shusha shook hands.
I was again in Shusha, and again the Armenians preached that it was better to face the death rather than obey the Tartars, and that the Armenians and Tartars were enemies and no agreement could be reached between them.
Anxious time arrived. The British authorities ruled that Karabakh had to be joined to Azerbaijan and to be governed by this republic. It was important matter. The Moslem refugees in that region were to be fed. Armenia couldn’t help. The road to Nakhichevan was impassable in winter, and when it became passable in summer there were lots of other problems. Thus, for example, there are zones between Nakhichrvan and Geruzi, inhabited by the Moslems. There were thousands refugees among them whose villages were destroyed by the Armenians.
They, of course, would not let any foodstuff to pass. Besides, Gerduzi is the nursery of the anti-Tartar agitators. Andranik was still there and he refused to recognize the Armenian government in Erivan. Geruzi, as such, was his own state, and even today the town is separated and governed by the Armenian council. Even now, when I am writing, the anti-Tartar propaganda is proceeded with and the people of Geruzi do not let any food sent to Shusha pass because of their hatred to Azerbaijan. Even today moving along the road from Shusha to Geruzi is dangerous because of the frequent arracks of well equipped bandits.
On the other hand, Azerbaijan could afford alimentation of the refugees. Communication roads were relatively good. There was quite good (except for several sections, where movement was very complicated in rainy weather) Baku-Evlakh railroad leading to Agdam and Shusha. Thus, being already a part of Azerbaijan, geographically, Karabakh became administratively a part of it, also. Doctor Sultanov was appointed the general-governor and the British officer with the small detachment of British troops stayed in Shusha.
According to the reached agreement, Sultanov could issue his orders and decrees only provided those were agreed with the representative of England. Even such type of polity was refuted by the Armenians, and when the Azerbaijani information and proclamation were pasted up in the town, the Armenians instigated by the agitators, destroyed or tore the notices off. Many refugees staying in that town and district ran away from the Turkish Armenia, so influencing them was not a difficult task. Of course, they suffered greatly from the Turks, and it was enough for the agitators to say that the Tartars and Turks are the same, and the fat was in the fire. Clashes were unavoidable. The British troops were sent for conciliation and two Indians were killed. Several Tartar soldiers and Armenians were killed at the clashes. The number of victims in the villages they were heading to kill each other, reached several hundreds.
Now the incident is over. Peace came to Karabakh. Armenians agreed to obey the Azerbaijan authorities. As I have already said, the banquet was lain on and the sword was put into sheath.
They (Armenians) tell me that Shusha and Karabakh have never had such peace and order before. Armenians fearless visit the Tartar part of the town, and Tartars enter freely its Armenian part. Armenians occupy positions in the Azerbaijani government. But there is currently one remarkable phenomenon in Shusha, which, on no doubt, is very important. Commerce, almost fully concentrated in the hands of Armenians, now is transferred to the Tartars.
Many rich Armenians have left or are leaving the town. They confide that are afraid of the oncoming. Such migration even worsens the situation (as it doesn’t inspire trust to the poor people). Other Armenians, owners of workshops, hesitate in buying materials since they are also not sure about their future, and consider that running away with money in pockets is much easier than being bound by the goods. And, third, Armenians are afraid that if the whole trade is concentrated in their hands, the Tartars would again have the reason to kill. I heard this explanation from one Armenian, who was innocent to admit that the Moslems didn’t like the situation when the whole trade was in the Armenians’ hands.
Peasants remain peasants, whenever they live. They treat their fields, work, eat and sleep and do not care much of the political issues, whether they are Tartars, Armenians or any other race. The revolution in Russia would have never occurred if it had depended on the peasants. Bolshevism would have never existed should the intelligentsia fulfilled its duty. So, I’d rather consider the migration of the "intellectual" Armenians from Shusha as the fact unworthy of regrets, though it may raise doubts and lessen the trust. The people, thrown upon its own resources, will move its own way. I am sure that all the Armenian disorders and quarrels can be stopped provided several political leg-pullers, agitators, and provokers are isolated. A Tartar is the best of the two, but an Armenian has left him behind in the matters of provocations and intrigues.
I have really heard about Denikin, mentioned by several Armenians, to be one of the reasons of their fear to stay in Karabakh. They used to say "Maybe Denikin will come". Poor Denikin. He is thousands versts away, and this way is possible to be covered by a plane, only, because in travels in the Caucasus one has to overcome very twisty road. Why to involve Denikin to the Karabakh issue.
Finally, I saw thousands of Moslem refugees perished by starvation, homeless, with no clothes. And I note in the newspapers coming from our motherland that the hat is still sent round to the Armenians.
Based on the facts personally seen here, I feel myself obliged to say that such contributions were made not only to Armenians, but to all the Caucasian refugees, independent of their origin and religion.
When the alimentation and clothing of the hungry people is the matter, the question arises whether they really need it. The issue of religion is left aside. Here in the Caucasus, all the refugees have suffered equally. All of them equally need assistance.