Prehistory of the Armenian-Azerbaijani war. 1905
The conflict between Armenians Christians and Azeris Muslims has deep roots. There are not only religious, but also wider cultural differences. By the beginning of the 20th century there were no clear boundaries between the Armenian and Azerbaijani territories. Everything belonged to one empire. Two nations settled "inside the territories" of another nation, that is, there was a situation when, for example, first there was a settlement of Azerbaijanis, then Armenians, then Azerbaijanis again. "Inside the territories" is used in quotation marks, since these territories belonged to the Russian Empire until the end of 1917. Nobody just cared about the peaceful division of land, so that everyone had their own country. As a result, the survey takes place so far, though not with such heat. A typical story in the territories of the former colonies: the empire is important "efficiency", and not the life of nations. Here it is appropriate to recall to some extent the Middle East: inadequate border holding as a symbol of the “effective management” of the empire. Further - more similarities.
Cossack patrol near the burnt oil fields in Baku, 1905
The first clashes in the XX century occurred just when the imperial center faltered - in 1905. In February 1905, a massacre in Baku and Nakhichevan (the territory bordering on present-day Armenia). Then a rumor spread in Baku teahouses that Armenians want to attack Muslims on a Shiite holiday, any funerals for the victims of contract killings turned into demonstrations. The situation was tense. Then a group of Armenians shot an Azerbaijani worker. It was then that pogroms broke out.
The beginnings of the conflict at the end of the XIX century
If we delve further into the background, we will find several causes of conflict in the last decades of the 19th century. After Russia annexed the Caucasus, the empire applied the same practices to these territories as it did to its European possessions. In particular, non-Christians could take no more than a third of the seats in local government. Initially, this measure was directed against the Jews, but in the South Caucasus turned against the Muslims. As a result, Armenians occupied most of the seats in the meetings.
Further, the Russian Empire tried to rely on the Armenians as agents of their power in the region (the Christians). However, this only developed a sense of exclusivity among the Armenian nobility, which went against the goals of the empire. More and more Armenians remember the great Armenian kingdom. People will more often not only think about him, but also write when the governor and the politician change in Transcaucasia. Grigory Golitsyn, appointed in 1886, will support the Muslims: they will greatly reduce the number of Armenian officials, and Azerbaijanis will take their place. Golitsyn will see danger in the Armenians, since they are the same Jews - this is what was written in the reports to St. Petersburg. Armenian schools will be closed, children will receive education according to the Russian model, the history and geography of Armenia will be excluded from school programs. Armenian nationalists, in particular the Dashnaktsutyun party, will embark on the path of terror.
It is noteworthy that representatives of the empire, in general, were inactive. The Bolsheviks later saw the reason for the massacre in that the imperial authorities deliberately pitted the more loyal Muslim Azeri population and the revolutionary-minded Armenian.
The Armenian-Azerbaijani war of 1918−20
Azerbaijan and Armenia in 1919-1920
As already noted, the story around the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict reminds of how they fought in the Middle East. Only in smaller spaces, very close and no less confusing. Azerbaijan sought to reach the borders of friendly Turkey and take the territories inhabited by Azeris under its control. The main actions took place in Karabakh, Zangezur and Nakhichevan. All in the direction from Azerbaijan to the border with Turkey. Armenians also wanted to control all the territories inhabited by Armenians.
Azerbaijani gunner in Karabakh
During the war, the mutual hatred of neighbors reached such an extent that both sides destroyed the settlements of enemies. The terrain in the combat zones, according to foreigners, was not just depopulated - there was simply nothing left. Both sides expelled the enemy peoples, shot, destroyed villages, turned the territories into purely Armenian or Azerbaijani territories.
The territories inhabited by Armenians in Azerbaijan were empty or were settled by Azerbaijanis and Kurds. In the Shemakhi district, 17 thousand Armenians were killed in 24 villages, in the Nukhinsky district - 20 thousand Armenians in 20 villages. A similar picture was observed in Aghdam and Ganja. In Armenia, the regions inhabited by Azerbaijanis were also left without their original inhabitants. Dashnaks, members of the Dashnaktsutyun party and controlled troops, “cleared” the Novobayazetsky, Erivan, Echmiadzinsky and Sharuro-Daralagezsky districts from Azerbaijanis.
Karabakh Armistice Commission, 1918
Entente does something (won the Bolsheviks)
In view of the inaction, for obvious reasons, the Russian authorities in this direction to settle the situation around the conflict at the very borders of the Ottoman Empire, the British got involved with the Americans. And at first everything went favorably for the Armenians, they even called the British allies. The winners in the Great War were able to beat off Western Armenia on paper - in 1920 the Treaty of Sevres was signed, denoting the partition of Turkey. The realization of the papers was prevented by the coming to power of the Kemalists in Turkey. They did not ratify the treaty signed by the Sultan government.
British in Baku
In addition to the Treaty of Sevres, which took place a year before the Paris Conference of Sevres (for example, the United States was given a mandate for Transcaucasia in the spirit of those established in the Middle East), it is necessary to note the permanent mediation of the British in the negotiations, their attempts to pacify the parties. But, apparently, due to some goals in Paris, the British pursued a more pro-Azerbaijani policy, which caused resentment of Armenians. The latter considered themselves to be the “little ally” of Britain. In general, the efforts of the Entente to establish peace in the region were in vain. And not even because of the fact that the Bolsheviks came and conquered all the forces of the Red Army. Simply, apparently, such a deep hatred is not smoothed by papers and diplomats. It can be seen today.