On the Issue of Armenians of Western Armenia 

  • by Western Armenia, December 06, 2023 in History
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1917 at the end of November and the beginning of December, the three nations  of Transcaucasia began to create national military units.

The last military and political leadership of the collapsing Russian Empire had already given their consent, and the Armenians, Tatars and Georgians were trying to get as many weapons as possible from the retreating Russian army units.

Although the Russian soldiers and officers left the armament everyone tried to get more, so there were frequent cases of legal and illegal sale of weapons, as well as attacks on the departing military echelons and groups.

The passage of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and their family members through major Transcaucasian railway junctions often caused great tension and clashes.

«Wild» divizia

From the very beginning of the First World War, Tsarist Russia started  to form national military units. in addition to the Armenian volunteer squads, the Muslim division was also created, which included the peoples of the North Caucasus.

Caucasian Tatars also had a separate subdivision.

During the war, the Muslim division  took part in a number of major military operations, mainly on the western front, and stood out for its courage and brutality. Soon the division gets the name "Wild".

After the Bolshevik revolution and the disintegration of the military front, the division appears in the Caucasus. 1917 in November, bloody clashes between the Cossacks and the peoples of the North Caucasus begin, as a result of which almost the entire supply system of Transcaucasia was paralyzed.

Soon the Tatar subdivisions  of the division are concentrated in Gandzak, Shamkor and other regions, which, united with the local population, become a real scourge for the non-Muslim population.

1917 in the middle of November, the southern regions of the Transcaucasia begin to be conquered by the Turkic-speaking tribes who invaded from the territory of Iran, known as the Shahsevans. The main direction of their attack was the regions of Lenkoran, Kovsakan, Jrakan, Mughan, where semi-wild tribes destroyed the Russian companions, killed soldiers, slaughtered the civilian population and engaged in looting.

Take Over the lands of Armenians

The formal reason for the first Muslim disputes in the Gandzak region was the land issue. According to the decision of the Transcaucasian Commissariat, the division of land began.and the Muslims tried to drive out the Christian population, first of all, and take over their land.1917 in November-December, the Armenian press published many alarms about the occupation of lands and villages. The situation in Gandaz was slightly different. The organization of the Armenian community kept it free from attacks, but there were also frequent clashes between Tatars and Russians.At the beginning of January 1918, the Armenian villages of Nukh province of Gandzak region were  in a difficult situation. The Muslims surround the Armenian villages around the city of Nukh, destroy and loot three of them and demand  Armenians to leave immediately, saying that they are Turkish settlements. On January 6, "Mshak" newspaper reporter Abgar Payazat (Abgar Ter-Abrahamyan) telegraphed that the Tatars attacked the Armenian villages of Jafarapat, Cholakhlu, Aliar, Mald, Otmanlu, Kyulung and other Armenian villages and forced  Armenians to leave.

"Those villagers, due to their lack of defense, had to carry  out that strange order, after which the Turkish armed wild tribe  looted all the movable property, set fire to all the houses in the villages," Payazat wrote. Tatar armed groups also destroyed railway substations in Evlakh, Aghstafa, Shamkor and elsewhere.

Shamkor

The incident of Shamkor was quite a dark story, because immediately after it, information was circulated that the order to disarm Russian soldiers leaving the front was received from Tiflis.

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In his memoirs, Simon Vratsyan states that the armored vehicle attacking the Russian soldiers belonged to Georgian Abkhazava, and among the attackers were the soldiers of the Wild Division under the command of Colonel Levan Maghalov (Maghalishvili).

"The captured cannons and all the weapons were owned by the Gandzak Muslim National Council. The booty was taken to Gandzak with great fanfare. The Turkish Social-Revolutionary (SR) paramilitary leader Aslan Beg Safikurdski, riding the first cannon, entered Gandzak triumphantly.

Later, it became known that some of the Georgian leaders were also involved in that attack. On January 6, Ramishvili reported to the meeting of the Transcaucasian Commissariat that "it was necessary to disarm the military unit that left Tsarsk Kolodets and hand over the weapons to the Georgian corps. An armored vehicle and a military unit were sent... All measures have been taken."

And Dzhugheli pointed out "the sad role played  by Abkhazava and its military unit. It was not disarmament, it was typical  looting of soldiers."