On the question of the Armenians of Western Armenia

  • by Western Armenia, November 30, 2023 in History

On December 29, 1917, the Council of People's Commissars of the RSFSR adopted the famous decree "On Turkish (Western) Armenia", for its development in 1917, in November, by order of Lenin, a special commission was created, whose members were Stalin, Varlam Avanesov (Suren Martirosyan), Vahan Teryan, Lukashin (Sargis Srapionyan), SR Prosh Proshyan (son of the writer Perch Proshyan), Menshevik Pavel Axelrod and Stepan Zoryan (Rostom).

The commission is able to prepare a report and a project on Turkish (Western) Armenia in a short time and present it to the council. In the report, whose main author was Vahan Teryan, it was stated that the Armenian people of Western Armenia were the largest national group at the start of the war and that the Young Turk government took advantage of the First World War to exterminate the Armenian people, “in order to put an end to the Armenian question”.

The members of the commission wanted the Council of People's Commissars to issue a decree and protect the right to national self-determination of the Armenians of Western Armenia, as well as create guarantees for the self-determination of the Armenian population of Western Armenia. The stay of Russian troops in Western Armenia was one of the important elements of these guarantees.

The stay of Russian troops in Western Armenia was one of the important elements of these guarantees. Based on this report, the commission also draws up a draft decree “On Western Armenia”, where it is said:

"The Council of People's Commissars announces to the Armenian people that the Russian workers' and peasants' government will protect by all possible means the right of Armenians to full national self-determination, until the creation of an independent Armenian state on the territory of the Western Armenia, and at the same time will show all kinds of support.

The draft also suggested that "the necessary number of troops should be left on the borders of Armenia until the Armenian population of Western Armenia can vote to decide the internal order of independent Armenia."

However, during subsequent discussions, the project was modified, and on December 29, 1917, the decree “On Turkish (Western) Armenia” was approved, and on December 31, it was issued. The most important point for Armenians is that Russian troops leave Western Armenia. At the same time, the decree assigns an important function to Stepan Shahumian, temporary extraordinary commissioner for Caucasian affairs, responsible for “providing all kinds of assistance to the population of “Western Armenia”.