08 August 2006
A.A. Lalayan (Lalaian) was a Soviet historian of Armenian ethnicity and his editorials relating to the “Tashnak” period of the Armenian Republic have been printed in the Russian magazine “Revolyutsionniy Vostok” (Revolutionist East) No. 2-3 of 1936 which can be titled into English as “Anti-Revolutionist Tashnaksyutin and Imperialist War 1914-1918.” The magazine was edited by the National and Colonial Studies Organization.
The second article has been printed in the “Istroriceskie Zapiski”(Historical Notes) magazine and is titled “The anti-revolutionist role of the Tashnaksutyun Party”
The original documents are, of course, in Russian. These English translations have been taken from the Turkish translation by Kaynak Yayinlari, ISBN 975-343-444-8, and any minor unintended differences from any future translation from Russian into English directly, may please be excused.
Holdwater: "Tashnak" is Dashnak; "Tashnaksyutin" is Dashnagtzoutiun.
Tashnak bands... encouraged full heartedly ethnic fights between Turkish and Armenian workers and called upon Armenians to annihilate Turks.
P.25 : “Tashnak editorials and editors, do not expose themselves as enemies of peace, but deliriously want war. “
These lines belong to the American communist periodical “Banvor”. (Kysaber, Cairo Nov.11,1935)
P.28: Tashnak representative on foreign affairs Zavriyev, in notes sent to London and Paris Russian Embassies in 1915, was writing:
“From the first days of war, Russian Armenians waited for Turkey to be dragged into this war. This was an inspiration of the hope, that at the end of the war, the Armenian matter was to be taken anew at hand and settled definitely. Armenians could not stay indifferent to such developments; therefore they joined the incidents vigorously”.
P.29: The Tashnak Party was wisely hiding the imperialist character of the 1914-1918 war and motive of participation and was using slogans such as “salvage of brothers in Turkey” or “Liberty of Turkish Armenia”. Tashnak bands used the press to keep people uninformed, and encouraged full heartedly ethnic fights between Turkish and Armenian workers and called upon Armenians to annihilate Turks.
P.32: “Tashnaksutyun was wearing the mask of “saving Armenian brothers”, conducting campaigns for active participation on the side of Tsarist Russia. Tsarist Minister Lobonov Rostovski, when speaking of the Tsar’s plan for Armenia, was clearly underlying that Russia “needed an Armenia without Armenians”. They aimed at invading Turkish Armenia by murdering Armenians, and establishing Cossack settlements and units there.
P.34: The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sazonov, in his letter of 30 August 1914 sent to Prime Minister Goremkin wrote: “To ignite a revolution among Armenians, without an extensive survey of political status is a dangerous and undesirable situation... However, in case our relation with the Turks ruptures, it is advisable to enter into relationship with Armenians and Kurds, in order to benefit from them any moment.”
P.40: Voronstov-Deskov, the Governor of Russian Caucasia sent the below telegram to his Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Feb. 20, 1915:
“Just now the Zeitun Armenians Committee came to Caucasus Army Headquarters, declaring that they have 15.000 Armenians ready to attack Turkish supply routes and demanding arms and ammunition. It would be wise to ship the supplies to Iskenderun port.”
P.45; The special feature of voluntary actions is that the Tashnak Groups, under the leadership of bloodthirsty hmbapets (leaders of the Tashnaks like Andranik Pasha and Amazasp were called hmbapets, which is akin to murderer, plunderer, disobedient) have exhibited their heroism by mass murdering Turkish women, children, elderly and sick ones. The Turkish villages occupied by Tashnaks have been “cleansed” of living souls and converted into rubble. A Tashnak hero, Aslen Varaam, was explaining the status in 1920 as follows:
“At Basar-gecer, I wiped out the Turkish population, caring for no one.” This bandit was saying, “I too, collected men, women, and children; threw them into wells and blocked the entrance with piles of rocks and thus took care of them”.
Tashnaks had organized 10,000 volunteers since the autumn of 1914 till the end of 1915 and had used them against Turks.
P.48: Since the fragments of Tashnaks are addicted to alcohol, gambling, and alike, their need for large sums of money is obvious. “To protect immigrants” was the basic and maybe the most important item of the Tashnaksutyun budget. The subject is the following: The Tashnak Party systematically collected donations for their own obligations. A short while ago, Agaronyan had collected in the USA a substantial amount, equivalent to 15 million marks. Of course, he did not use this money to even slightly ease the situation of the Armenian refugees. He did not even distribute this money to starving crowds; but further acted unjustly when dividing this spoil with his comrades.
You can now understand the reason behind the smearing campaign led by the unemployed ministers of an unjust and inexistent government against Soviet Russia, the only country solving the immigrant question. The Tashnak ideologists kept alive the “immigrant profile” and included even “dead people’s names” to increase the number of refugees.
P.49: As indicated above, Tashnaks had organized 10,000 volunteers since the autumn of 1914 till the end of 1915 and had used them against Turks. Were they content with these military actions? Of course not!
P.50: Tashnaks had summoned all Armenians below the age of 35 to military service in 1918. The Tashnak press was inviting even those who may have done their military duty to volunteer again under the guidance of their conscience. Those who did not join the front were threatened as “traitors who do not comply with this call` and would be punished with the “death penalty”. Armenian Corps Commander Nazarbekov in June 1918 was addressing the Armenian people as follows: “You Armenian people, if you want to save your families; you and every one who can use firearms, join us. Come with your guns, ammunition and food sufficient for 5 days. Donate bread, potatoes and food stuff to your army!” The “invincible Tashnak Army” which was put together during a period of about four to five months in 1918 in an effort to save Eastern Anatolia, was forced to surrender the cities of Erzurum, Trabzon, Kars, Gumru etc. to the enemy.
P.51: As a result of Tashnak politics, half of the Arnenian population was exhausted and the remaining half was left in misery in a corner. The great illusion of Tashnaks such as “United Armenia” including Seven Vilayets and Cilicia, and the indemnity to be paid to the victorious countries, all vanished. Armenia lost a large part of the Russian Armenia and half of her people.
Lying, cheating, playing tricks, and distorting the truth are their (the Dashnaks') outstanding features.
P.52: All groups were under the protection of the enemies of peace. Hitler was using them as German troublemakers; they served Japanese militarists and got arms from them. Polish officers and others used them as well.
P.53: The British are trying to collect what is left of the Tashnaks and join them with Kurdish fanatics, bringing immigrant Russian monarchists to their leadership positions, and arm them against the Soviets in the name of “Free Armenia and Kurdistan”. Apparently, the hundreds of thousands of corpses of laborers and peasants destroyed by them in collaboration with the Tsarists and Western Imperialists, and the blood they spilled, nor the totally destroyed economy during their reign of 30 months had not satisfied them in the eyes of the large community.
P.66: Lying, cheating, playing tricks, and distorting the truth are their outstanding features. Like other bourgeois parties, they cannot live without these. Therefore, this anti-revolutionist party of Armenian bourgeois, is trying to show itself as a “revolutionist” and “people’s party”.
P.70: The Southern Caucasus Commissariat under direct command of N. Jordaniya, on January 22-25, 1918 at the Semkir Village, organized an attack over the Russian soldiers, who were returning from the Turkish front to Soviet Russia via Tiblisi. The revolutionist army of five hundred thousand were machine gunned and shelled by artillery. They removed the arms of the Russian soldiers on the road from Tiblisi to Kirovobad. There remained on the railway tracks, several thousands dead and wounded soldiers. Stalin referred to this event on March 1918 as follows: “Let us talk about the Revolutionist soldiers returning from the Turkish front, after commencement of the peace talks. These soldiers had to pass through the anti-Soviet center located at Tiblisi. They could have become a serious threat to the South Caucasus Commissariat, which was in the hands of Bolsheviks. This was a visible danger. When confronted with this danger, the 'socialist' jingle-bells fell off. The anti-revolutionist character of the coalition surfaced. Commissariat and “national” federations (Turkish, Georgian, Armenian) took the arms of the soldiers returning from the front, shot them and re-armed wild 'national' flocks.” (Pravda No.56, 1918)
P.74: SEYM (joint parliament of Armenians-Tatars-Georgians) continued to run the policies of Southern Caucasus commissariat. On April 22, 1918, SEYM declared the liberty of Southern Caucasus and tore this country away from Soviet Russia. They refuted the Soviet Russian politics and particularly the Brest-Litvosk Treaty. Seym was under the pressure of the Tashnaks. With the efforts of Hatisyan and Tigranyan who were members of the Peace Conference, they started a new war against Turkey, and leaving Tiblisi under danger, they surrendered Kars, Batum and other Soviet Caucasus towns to Turks. SEYM fought with South Causassus Bolsheviks and shot the revolutionist laborer-peasants. They strongly supported the crushing of the glorious Baku commune. Tashnaks voted for separation of Southern Caucasus from Russia and they sent a committee to Batum to cooperate with Turks against Soviet Russia.
P.75: But this did not prevent their waging war on Turks. In order to suppress the revolutionist development in the Caucasus, they invited imperialists of Britain - Germany and America. The Tashnaks were active for the removal of the Baku commune.
P.76: On May 26, 1918 SEYM announced their self-liquidation; upon which various “free Republics” in the Caucasus were born one after another. This time, Tashnaks were backed by the German occupiers. On May 28, 1918, the Tashnaksutyun presented a declaration at the so called Armenian National Union, for the establishment of a “free” Armenian Republic. “National Union” considered themselves the sole authority in “Armenian towns” and gave authority to Ovannes Katchaznuni to set up a government in Armenia. Katchaznuni set up a government of Tashnaks. Bandit Aram Pasha was minister of Interior, hangman Hatisyan was made Minister of Foreign Affairs and the adventurer Aherdov was made Minister of War. They formed a so-called Parliament and in mid-June 1918, the Tashnak Government moved from Tiblisi to Yerevan.
P.78: Quotation from Communist Magazine No. 4, 1918; “In Baku, after establishment of Soviet Authority, Armenian laborers clearly saw that Soviet Russia was a true friend and protector; so they turned their back on the Tashnaks. For this reason the Tashnaks of Baku had to resort to disgraceful lies… They promised to struggle for the Soviet rule and fight against German-Turkish Imperialism. From the first days of the Commune, Tashnak leaders started secret contacts with Turks in order to gain full power and fight with Bolshevism.
P.79: In spring 1918, Tashnaks contacted British Army Commandment in Iran and checked on the possibility to surrender Soviet Baku to British Imperialists (contacts with spy British Colonel L. Bicerahov and others). Anti-revolutionist Tashnaks assisted the Turkish Government to pass their troops through the South Caucasus, against communist Baku. On January 30, 1918 when a bitter fight started, Tashnak spy-agents insisted on surrendering their armies to the enemy. The commander of the Baku army, agent Avetisian, ordered to raise the flag of surrender and ensured the entry of Turks into Baku, without fighting. (Communist Magazine No.7, 1918, p.1-2)
...All of the population which was not Armenian was considered illegal. The Tashnaks' activities to “Armenianize” all of the country ... implied the killing of Azeri and Kurdish people living on Armenian soil
P.80: After the refusal of Military Commissar Mikoyan to raise the banner of surrender to the Turks, Avetisyan dispersed the parliament under threat of guns and hmbabet leader Amazasi opened the front line and gave way to the enemy. Amazasi, instead of fighting against the Turkish army, ordered his Armenian units to plunder Turkish civilians. Among the Turkish army units attacking Baku commune, there were representatives of Tashnak, members of the”National” committee such as Arzumanyan, Arutunyan and others.
P.83: With the help of Tashnaks, in the Spring of 1919, British occupiers succeeded in drawing a large amount of ammunition and sending it to Denikin, who was fighting against the Bolsheviks… Denikin was keeping close touch through his representative at the Tashnak government. He was counting on the “invincible” Tashnak Army, as if they were his own corps and was ordering his officers accordingly. In return, Tashnaks were serving in the Denikin army, to fight against Soviet Russia.
P.84: After the Red Army dispersed Denikin, the anti-revolutionist Tashnak government got in touch with Baron Vrangel, fighting against Soviets in South Russia. In October 1920, the Tashnak Government received from Vrangel close to one million bullets. He promised an additional one million for their success in fighting Bolsheviks.
P.85: Tashnaks, with the assistance of (EsErs !) and other anti-revolutionist groups, suppressed the gallant revolt of workers and peasants in May, in blood-baths throughout all of Armenia. During the dictatorship term of the anti-revolutionist Tashnak government (1918-1920), all of the population which was not Armenian was considered illegal. The Tashnaks' activities to “Armenianize” all of the country — which implied the killing of Azeri and Kurdish people living on Armenian soil — and other ethnic cleansing movements were encouraging national separatism in the country.
P.86: During the two and a half years Tashnaks were in power, they started an armed annihilation towards the Azeris living on Armenian soil, without separating civilians from soldiers. They burned and plundered all villages and towns. The Tashnak Government shelled unarmed Azeri and Kurdish villages “because they had not fulfilled the requirements of the state (Armenian villages as well, got their share of this shelling). Tashnaks, after suppressing the gallant revolution of worker-peasants in May, fired their artillery on Azeri and Kurdish villages and murdered civilians, under the slogan “Muslims are our enemy”. Lt. Col. Melik Sahzanerov, commanding Bas Gerni troops, in his report sent to the Armenian Division Commander marked as “urgent” on Nov. 7, 1918 was reporting that all villages in the district were shelled by artillery and that 30 Turkish villages were occupied. He was asking permission for onward action against the remaining 29 villages. The Tashnak criminals, after approval of their center, flattened tens of Azeri villages in Bas Gerni township, killed many people without separating children, women, elderly and plundered their properties. (Armenian State Archive, Yerevan, fon 67, file 644, page 1-2, 17.)
Holdwater: Note the source of the last bit of information. Now we can understand one reason why Armenia does not dare to open their archives.
The national bourgeois policy of the Tashnak Government entailed loss of nearly half of Armenian population; and there was but little left for the remaining half.
P.87: An official of the Tashnak State, in a 21 June 1920 letter written to the State President A. Ohancian, was telling: “We occupied Zangezur. This district is so rich that it can pay our debts several times. For the last two days, there is an unbelievable looting going on; wheat, barley, fodder, samovars, carpets, gold and money are being taken. Ministry of Finance, only yesterday could send two agents. Otherwise, this great richness will fly out of our hands. The places where Turks and Kurds lived, is indeed a treasure.Too bad that we are not in a position to own this treasure”.
A person named G. Muradian, was applauding the actions of the Tashnak Government, displayed by burning and destroying the Azeri villages, was commenting: “….Thanks to our Government’s action, the settlers of the villages (Tohluca, Akbulak, Ardanus, etc.) have left our soil. I saw the deserted villages; few cats and one or two dogs remained. Dogs unaccustomed to this silence were barking with strange sounds. Farmers left in their fields, large amount of potatos, wheat and barley. The government can collect from these villages more than 30.000 tons of wheat, 8.000 tons of potatoes…” (Jogorurd Newspaper of Armenian bourgeois, No. 105, 1920)
P.89 The anti-revolutionist Tashnak government, in 1920, in order to penalize “naughty villagers”, blocked a branch of the Zengi river. Thus from Gokce lake to Zengibasar, the river shores turned into desert. Many people died, many animals and harvest was wasted.
P.90: The Tashnak Government intended to occupy all of Eastern Anatolia under the banner of national struggle and started sabre-rattling against Turkey. Stalin said: “'National flag’ can be used as a popular flag, only to deceive multitudes in a cause, because it suits the purpose of the bourgeois to cover their anti-revolutionist plans” (Stalin, Marxism and National Colony subject, 1936, p.54)
P.91: The national bourgeois policy of the Tashnak Government entailed loss of nearly half of Armenian population; and there was but little left for the remaining half.
P.92: Before the Tashnaks came to power, in the countryside that is called Armenia now, there lived 1,200,000 people. However, towards 1920, prior to the Sovietization of Armenia, the population dropped to 770,000. Moreover the changes that occurred in the national texture of the population during 1918-1920 is extremely noteworthy. Thus, during the dictatorship of 2.5 years rule of the Tashnaks, the Armenian population was reduced by 35%, Turks 77%, Kurds 98%, and Yazidis by 40%.
Armenian Population within present borders (in thousands) for years 1918-1920 is given below
Nationality 1918 1920 %Loss During Tashnak Dictatorship
Armenians 885 690 .5 22 %
Turks 260 60 77 %
Kurds 25 0.5 98%
Yazidis 8 5 40%
Russians 15 14 7%
Others 7 4 43%
TOTAL 1,200 774 35.5%
(Holdwater: As comparison, the Great Soviet Encyclopedia of 1926 provided for a total of 1.5 million in 1918, nearly 800,000 Armenian, nearly 600,000 Muslims (Azeris) and 140,000 others. Just below this link, you can also see Armenia admitted, for the first and probably only time, its criminal actions; on Aug. 31, 1918, they 'fessed up to the killing of 400,000 Azeris, 120,000 Georgians, 15,000 Turks, and others. Today, Armenia can boast of its success in following racist "Aryan" policies; the CIA Fact Book affirms the nation is some 98% "pure.")
“If Armenian people want to stay alive and strengthen the existence of the State, they should turn their face to Turkey and not Russia.”
P.93 The official brigand of the Tashnak Government, A. Oganciyan’s reference to the Tashnak army’s invincibility in his speech on August 2, 1920 proved to be a false hope. The invincible army surrendered Alexandropol, Karakilisa and other cities to Turks, almost without fighting. During the days of Alexandropol’s surrender, the British Imperialist on which the Tashnaks “relied,” was informing the Tashnak ambassador T.Bekzadjian in Tiblisi, through their representative Stocks, that Britain cannot help with the war with Turkey and that in order to repress the spread of communist revolts, they should ask the assistance of their enemy, the Turks.
P.94: The Tashnak Government on Nov. 17, 1920 sent their agent Hatisian to Tiblisi to speak to General Kazim, representative of the Ankara government. Hatisian first consulted their masters British Stocks, French Colonel Norakurin, and Italian Colonel Gobay and later made his contact. A Tashnak newspaper (Arac, No.255, Nov. 1920) was commenting on the subject as follows:
“If Armenian people want to stay alive and strengthen the existence of the State, they should turn their face to Turkey and not Russia.”
According to the treaty signed on Dec. 2, 1920 in Alexandropol with the Turkish delegation, the Tashnaksutyun was waiving the Sèvres Treaty and charges against Turkey and acknowledged that there were no districts in which Armenians lived and hence dropped previous requests. According to the Turkish-Tashnak agreement, Armenia would only have 1.500 gendarmes, 8 cannons, 20 machine guns. In case of need, the Turkish government promised to provide military “aid” to Armenia.
P.96: Veys Veysov, the head of the great animal farm of Baser-Gecer district quoted in his memoirs:
“In a winter night, under gun fire, Tashnaks took us from our villages and exiled us. This “action” was run by General Silikov and Tevasov. All Turkish villages in our townships were totally flattened, there was only heaps that remained, Tashnaks had materialized a cruelty rarely to be seen in the world. They had killed so many people ! From our family of eight, only I survived. In the mountains I am now walking, there laid too many human corpses. After Soviet rule was established in the country, my neighbors and I returned to our villages which were burned and robbed by Tashnaks and saw only one living person from each family. Now I have a family and children educated in their mother tongue. I am happy because there is no war any longer, we are working with Armenians side by side in Kolhoz farms and live like brothers. Because of such a bright and peaceful life, I applaud the draft constitution and wish long life to comrade Stalin who strengthened our brotherhood”.
The people living in Armenia, have been renewed. During Soviet rule, the population of Armenia increased by about 55%. The population which was 774,000 in 1920, increased to 1,200,000 in 1936.
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