On the question of the Armenians of Western Armenia

  • by Western Armenia, November 29, 2023 in History

The Bolshevik leaders attached great importance to the Muslim peoples of the East on the path to achieving the world revolution, first of all to the Turks.

By 1917, the last Turkish army was fighting against Britain in Mesopotamia, and despite the successes of the British, for the Bolsheviks the Turks were vanguards fighting against world imperialism. The Turkish authorities perfectly understood the benefit they could derive from the friendly attitude of the Bolsheviks and were happy to cooperate with them.

The Bolsheviks openly showed their positive attitude towards the Turkish authorities even before the revolution. In the summer of 1917, when the autonomy until independence of Western Armenia was established by decision of the Provisional Government of Russia and tens of thousands of Armenian immigrants returned to their homes Originally, Lenin had a very negative assessment of the actions of Kerensky's government.

"We are obliged to immediately satisfy the Ukrainians and Finns, to grant them and all foreign tribes of Russia complete freedom, up to the right to secede. We must do the same for the whole of Armenia, we are obliged to withdraw troops from Armenia and the occupied Turkish lands,” Lenin wrote and clarified. - “If the Councils gain power tomorrow, we will say: withdraw the troops from Armenia, otherwise it will be a deception.” At that time, both Armenian social and political forces and even the Russian government elite understood perfectly well that the withdrawal of the Russian army from Western Armenia would mean a new genocide or deportation of the Armenian people.

Simon Vratsyan noted that the Bolsheviks, especially Lenin, attached great importance to the participation of Eastern peoples in the struggle of the world revolution, moreover, Muslims should have played a decisive role in this struggle.

In December 1917, turning to the Tatars of the Near Volga, Crimea, Transcaucasia, Kyrgyz and Sarts of Siberia and Turkestan (this is what they called the Uzbeks and Tajiks of the plains before 1917), the Chechens and the mountaineers of the Caucasus, the Bolsheviks made them believe that they would henceforth be able to freely practice their religion and organize a national life.

Shortly after seizing power, the Bolsheviks published the secret agreements of Tsarist Russia, among them the Sykes-Picot Agreement, by which the Entente States would divide the Ottoman Empire after the war. Lenin promised the Turks that the Bolshevik government would renounce all demands of the previous government.

"We report that the secret contracts of the deposed tsar to seize K. Polis, certified by deposed Kerensky, are currently being torn up and destroyed. The Russian Republic and the Council of People's Commissars oppose the usurpation of the lands of 'others. K. Polis must remain in the hands of the Muslims.

We report that the agreement to divide Persia has been torn up and destroyed. As soon as hostilities end, troops will be withdrawn from Persia and the Persians will be guaranteed the right to freely manage their situation.

We inform you that the agreement to divide Turkey and "remove" Armenia from it has been destroyed and torn apart. As soon as hostilities end, Armenians will be guaranteed the right to freely exercise their political freedom.

So overthrow these usurpers and slavers of your countries.

Friends, brothers, on our banners we carry the liberation of the oppressed peoples of the world.

Muslims of Russia, Muslims of the Orient, we await your sympathy and support on this path to the rebirth of the world.

People's Commissar for National Affairs: Djoughashvili (Stalin)

Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars: V. Ulyanov (Lenin)

To be continued...