In the just over 70 years from the establishment of the Armenian state in the South Caucasus in 1918 until the end of the 1980s/early 1990s, Azerbaijanis were subject to mass deportation three times: 1) from 1918-1920; 2) from 1948-1953; 3) from the end of the 1980s to the early 1990s.
This deportation policy was the first stage in the history of the forced ousting of Azerbaijanis from their ancestral lands, which had already “become” Armenia. The deportations were carried out directly by the newly established Armenian state. Other forms of ethnic cleansing were also conducted, especially massacre. According to calculations made on the basis of Armenian sources, 565,000 of the 575,000 Azerbaijanis living in the territory of Armenia were killed or ousted at the end of World War I. Armenian author Z.Korkadyan wrote: “In 1920, after the Dashnaks, there remained a few more than 10,000 Turkic people (Azerbaijanis). There were 72,596 Azerbaijanis after the return of 60,000 refugees in 1922”. During Sovietisation, first in Azerbaijan (April 28, 1920), then in Armenia (April 29, 1920), a certain number of Azerbaijanis who had been deported from Armenia returned to their former lands. They would fall victim to the later deportations of 1948-1953.
The Sovietisation of Armenia in November 1920 took the policy of Azerbaijani deportation in a more insidious direction. From 1920-30 ideological declarations like “proletarian internationalism” were actually screens for organizing the oppression of Azerbaijanis in the Armenian SSR. On the contrary, special conditions were demanded for Armenians living in Azerbaijan and other Soviet republics. As a result, in 1923 the Mountainous part of Karabagh, which is historically and geographically a region of Azerbaijan, was artificially separated from the lower part of the region and given autonomous status. Thus, the Autonomous Region of Mountainous Karabagh (ARMK) was established. During a period when national state building was being conducted, the non-Azerbaijani leader of Azerbaijan, S.M.Kirov (1922-1926) and others did not raise the question of giving similar status to Azerbaijanis living in the Armenian SSR. Consequently, Azerbaijanis living in the Armenian SSR remained outside the political structures.
From 1948-1953, when the deportation was implemented (after Stalin’s death this process was halted) about 100,000 Azerbaijanis were expelled from the Armenian SSR. All the property, history and cultural monuments belonging to these people were left in the Armenian SSR.
The deportation of Azerbaijanis from the Armenian SSR from 1948-1953 was one of the harshest episodes in the history of Soviet deportations.
The end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s
The Armenian SSR and the USSR leadership that supported Armenia were not completely successful, as they were not able to deport all Azerbaijanis from Armenia.
The Armenian government maintained its anti-Azerbaijani policy. In the early 1960s, during the Cuban crisis, relations between the USSR and the USA became strained. Turkey, as a member of NATO, was drawn into the conflict and this cooled Soviet-Turkish relations. At that time the mass violence started against Azerbaijanis who lived in the Armenian SSR. This situation recurred almost every year at the same time. At the beginning of the 1980s there were further deportations of Azerbaijanis from the Armenian SSR in order to press territorial claims on Azerbaijan. The deportations were on a large scale and more than 250,000 Azerbaijanis were ousted from 1988-1989. The last Azerbaijani location, the village of Nuvadi, which had withstood Armenian pressure for nearly three years, was evacuated in August 1991. Thus, as a result of the deportation policy deliberately and systematically implemented by Armenia, the expulsion of Azerbaijanis from Armenia was completed. In fact, Armenia’s claim on Mountainous Karabagh developed into undeclared war on Azerbaijan. The Mountainous Karabagh region and seven surrounding districts of Azerbaijan, in all 20 per cent of the Azerbaijani territory, were occupied. Armenia invaded the historical homeland of Azerbaijanis by means of deportations and pure ethnic cleansing. Read More...