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Resettlement of Armenians in Garabagh

  



Establishment of the Armenian state under the auspices Russia, as well as the resettlement of Armenians from Iran and Turkey on land occupied by the Russia was not a coincidence rather it was a natural result of the Armenian-Russian relations. The base of these relations as it was propagated in the Russian and Armenian historical literature was not only trade relations, but the attitude of hostility against Muslim states of the East, especially Turkey and since the XVIII century against Azerbaijan.
Armenian-Russian relations were expanded with Russia's occupation of Kazan (1552) and Hastarkhan (1556), wars with Turkey (1635-1639,1711,1768-1774, 1787-1791, etc.) and further strengthened by its attempts to conquer the lands of the Caspian Sea coast. Resettlement of the Armenians in Russia during the course of these events and creation of the Armenian colonies here begins. In the present case the decree of Peter I played a big role for the Armenian people (October 10, 1724). According to this decree, the consent was given for resettlement of Armenians in lands occupied by Russia and their accommodation This political line of Peter I was followed by his successors over a century later. Russian victory at the years 1804-1813 in Russian-Iranian war and signing of the "Treaty of Gulistan" for division of Azerbaijan and consolidation once again strongly supported this policy. During 1826-1828 years at course of Russian-Iranian war after seize of Yerevan this plan began to be implemented.
Armenian cathalicos Nerses Astaraketsi developed the project on resettlement. A.S.Griboyedov also played a major role in the development and implementation of this plan. Nerses was writing to Yegiazar Lazarian invited from Petersburg in November 1827 for heading the Armenian resettlement and at that time being in Tabriz: "Now I asked Mr. A.S.Griboyedov, faithful advocate our Armenian nation no to forget my request about Christian prisoners of war and requested for accepting them everywhere under the powerful Russian banner ... I also asked from him about all of the Armenians in Iran and now I am writing to him ask asking: To instruct Ivan Fyodorovich Paskovich not to forget include in the contract an Article on returning of Armenians freely under the patronage of Greta Russian empire, living in village and towns under the Iranian rule.
Article XV of “Treaty of Turkmenchay" signed on February 10, 1828 envisaged resettlement of the Armenians. From Article XV: "The King Excellency… grant the full pardon to all the people of the region and officials of province named Azerbaijan... In addition, those officials and residents, together with his families, starting from today is given a time of one year for free leaving of Iranian province to Russia, not imposing any customs duty and taxes by the government and any local authority on their goods or property and allowing to take it without any hindrance. Regarding immovable property the period of five years is granted for its sale or voluntary disposal on it."
Committees to organize the resettlement of Armenians were established in Yerevan and Nakhchivan. Displaced persons were given the most important benefits: they were exempted for 6 years from taxes and charges; at the expense of compensation from Iran they were granted funds, etc. After some preparatory measures the resettlement was started. 40-50 thousand Armenians were brought from ran. During the course of Russian-Turkish war in 1828-1829 and after the war 90 thousand Armenians moved from Turkey. Resettlement of the Armenians from Iran, Turkey and other Eastern countries to Russia was continued in the forthcoming years. The main direction of the resettlement was Trans-Caucasus. N.I.Shavrov in wrote 1911: "At present, from 1 million 300 thousand Armenians living in the Caucasus more than 1 million is not aboriginal and was moved by us."
When Armenians moved to Transcaucasus special attention was given to the placement. A.S.Griboyedov wrote: "... from all regions occupied by the Russian army, Tabriz, Khoy, Salmas, Maraga all the Armenians should be moved to Nakhichevan, Yerevan and Garabagh provinces...." Griboyedov’s this recommendation was executed properly. N.Shavrov wrote: "The Armenians were accommodated in the best lands of Yelizavetpol and Erivan provinces where the Armenian population was in small number….the mountainous part of province Yelizavetpol (Nagorno-Garabagh) and coasts of Goycha Lake was settled by the Armenians."
Thus, the ethnic composition of the areas mentioned began to change with the resettlement of the Armenians here. According to the data of 1823, from total 20 thousand families of Garabagh region, a total of 1, 5 thousand were Armenian families. After resettlement the ethnic composition of the population has changed dramatically. In 1832 64.8% of the population of Nagorno-Garabagh was Azerbaijanis and 34.8% was the Armenians. This policy was purposefully continued to implement. In 80-es of XIX century in the national composition of the population of Shusha region 41,5% was Azerbaijanis and 58,2% Armenians. According to the 1897 population census in Russia these figures were 45 and 53%, and in 1917 40.2 and 52.3% and the massacres committed by Republic of Armenia in 1918-1920 had covered Garabagh, too. While establishing Nagorno-Garabagh Autonomous Republic in 1923, the historical injustice was done, upland and lowland parts of Garabagh were artificially separated from each other, and favorable conditions for the consolidation of the Armenian population were created, the demographic position of Azerbaijanis was severely blown. According to census held in 1926, 1959, 1970, 1979, the Azerbaijani and Armenian population of Nagorno-Garabagh was 10.1 and 89.1%, 13.8 and 84.4%, 18.1 and 80.5%, 23,0 and 75.9% respectively. Armenians of Nagorno-Garabagh marked the 150th anniversary of their resettlement here in 1978, and a special monument was erected in Maragashen-Leninavan village of Mardakert – Agdara region.
Resettlement of Armenians was connected with political interests both Russia and Armenia. Thousands of Armenians became the deliberate victim of a mischief-making policy of both these states and. Armenians being very sly in matters related to economic interests could not take lessons from the bitter results of this political tricks, and eagerly and brutally fulfilled the role of betrayal and conspiracy defined by Russian ad Armenian leaders for them and every time as a regular result of these deeds they faced national defeat and tragedy.



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