The Fate Of Nakhchivan: Repeated Violations Of Moscow And Kars Treaties – OpEd


World history and its scholarly work has been unfairly merciless in maintaining a long silence towards two of the most important treaties that have taken place in the interwar period of the last century. Those are the Treaties of Moscow and Kars.

The Treaties of Moscow (March 16, 1921) and Kars (October 13, 1921) made possible the integration and unification of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (its current official name) within the sovereign territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan. According to the Article III of the Treaty of Moscow, signed by the governments of Turkey and Russia, Nakhchivan was included as an autonomous region under the administrative jurisdiction of the Republic of Azerbaijan and its borders are included on Appendix 1 of the treaty; it also provided that Azerbaijan will never compromise its patronage to another nation, the treaty guaranteed the autonomy of Nakhchivan province under the patronage of the Government of Azerbaijan.

Moscow Treaty , March 16, 1921
Article 3.

Both laterals arriving at a conclusion express their consent that they are agree to establish an autonomous area of Nakhchivan province under the protection of Azerbaijan as stated in the addition of the present treaty 1 (B), provided that, Azerbaijan shall never compromise its right to the third country.

Addition (B).

The Ararat station –the Saraybulag mountain (8071) –the Gomrulu mountain (8839) – (8930) – (3080) –the Sayat mountain (7868) –Gurd gulag (Kurt kulak) village – the Hamasur mountain (8160) – (8022) height – the Kuku mountain (10282) and the Eastern part of the administrative borders of the former Nakhchivan uyezd. 3

According to the article 5 signed on October 13, 1921 with participitation of Russia Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in the city of Gars between on the one side Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia but on the other side the Republic of Turkey, the governments of Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan reached an agreement about establishment of Nakhchivan Autonomous province under the protection of Azerbaijan as stated within the borders of the 3 addition of the treaty.

Kars Treaty, October 13, 1921
Article 5

The government of Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan Soviet powers are agree to establish an autonomous area of the Nakhchivan territory under the protection of Azerbaijan within the borders stated in the addition 3 of the treaty.

Addition 3. Nakhchivan Territory

The village of Urmiya, from there straightly the Arazdayan station (it is given to the Armenia Soviet Socialist Republic), then straightly the mountain of Garbi Dashburun (3142) –from there the mountain of Shargi Dashburun (4108) –crossing the river Jahannamchay reaches the south of the spring (“Rovna”), continuing the mountain of Baghirsag (Yaghirsag) (6607) or along the watershed of 6587 height to the administrative border of the former Iravan uyezd, from there it follows the border line of Sharur-Daralayaz, from 6629 height the mountain of Gomurlu (6839 or 6930) and from there reaches the 3080 height. Sayat mountain (7868) –Gurd gulag (Kurt kulak) village–Hamasur mountain (8160)–8022 height–Kuku mountain (10282) and the Eastern administrative borders of the former Nakhchivan uyezd.”

At the time when Kars Treaty was signed, the territory of Nakhchivan was 6,988 km2, later it was reduced into 5,500 km2 as a result of Moscow’s illegal procedures of handing in, transferring, Nakhchivan’s territory to Autonomous Republic of Armenia. Subsequently, the International treaties were unilaterally violated and breached; as a result the borders of Nakhchivan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic were reviewed again.

In 1929, according to a decision taken by the Presidium of the Pre-Caucasian Central Executive Committee, the territories within the Province of Nakhchivan (including Gerchivan, Gurg Gulag, Horadiz, Aghbin, Aghkhach, Danan Almali, Almali, Itgiran, Sultanbey and parts of Kilit village) were given to Armenian SSR. The total territories taken away from Nakhchivan comprised an area of 657 km2. The regional maps printed in 1962, 1965 and 1967 were falsified by Armenia; the border line through the red brick buildings from Urmia to Arazdeyen was gradually set close to Sadarak village of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, thus an area of more than 400 ha were illegitimately united to the Armenian territory. On January 19, 1990, Karki village of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic was occupied by Armenian-Russian Armed Forces. While Moscow and Kars treaties continue to be in effect and valid until today, the illegal annexation of territories of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic conducted by Armenia is against the standards set forth by the International law, the Vienna Convention of 1969 on the Law of International Treaties, Declaration of 1970 on International Law principles, and the Helsinki Final Act of 1975.

According to reliable historical sources, Armenian authorities have always attempted to take under control the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan and eventually separate it from Azerbaijan. On October 28, 1920 according to an agreement signed between the Soviet Russia and Dashnak Armenia without any participation from Azerbaijan government, Zangazur and Nakhchivan provinces were included within the control of Armenia. In November 29, 1920 the Bolshevik authority, established in Armenia, wanted to include Nakhchivan and Zangazur into Armenian territory. Civilian population of Nakhchivan and Zangazur organized massive protests against this decision; they were also joined by the Turkish representatives. At this time, Armenians found it impossible to secure control of the population of Nakhchivan and in December 28, 1920 Yerevan decided to recognize Nakhchivan as an independent Soviet Republic.

At the same time because of imperative political reasons Moscow decided to deal with the legitimate will of Muslim population in Nakhchivan and considered the proposal by the Turkish side; the Bolsheviks were obliged to recognize the right of self-determination of Nakhchivan. On the other hand, Zangazur province which separates Nakhchivan from the rest of Azerbaijan’s mainland, was illegally given to Armenia by the Bolsheviks. After such a fraudulent decision, Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic was necessary, because Nakhchivan had become separated from the mainland of Azerbaijan. However, Armenian regime had always attempted to control and occupy Nakhchcivan. In January 1st, 1921 was held an opinion survey and more than 90 percent of Nakhchivan population voted in favor of autonomy of Nakhchivan within Azerbaijan. Behbud aga Shaxtaxtinski worked very hard for the Autonomy of Nakhchivan within Azerbaijan.

On March 1, 1921 Shaxtaxtinski sent a telegraph to V. I. Lenin and informed him about the national structure of the Muslim population of Nakhchivan, Zengezur, Dagliq Qarabag, Zaqatala, Borchali, Qarayazin, Dagistan and the northern Caucasus provinces. At the same time he informed about the future troubles in Nakhchivan, Zangazur and Mountainous Karabagh territories, he made a reference to the ethnic structure and geography of these territories. Lenin founded his suggestions very interesting and he ordered to discuss these matters at the Political Bureau of Central Committee.

This time Turkish representatives visited Moscow with the purpose to make an agreement with Soviet representatives. They started negotiations in February 26 until March 16, a date when both sides generated the “Moscow Agreement” on friendship. Same day the Political Bureau approved the suggestions of Behbud aga Shaxtaxtinsky and made a decision to create the Nakhchivan Soviet Republic within Azerbaijan. According to Article III of “Moscow Treaty” autonomy is given to Nakhchivan within Azerbaijan. “Moscow Treaty” has a great historic importance; first of all this agreement solved the problematic relations between Turkey and Russia, establishing an alliance between both countries, at the same time it protected Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and clarified forever the status of the territory of Nakhchivan. The Moscow Treaty between Soviet Russia and Turkey also solved disputed problems between Southern Caucasus Republics.

After this agreement, Moscow wanted the Turkish government to sign a bilateral agreement with the other South Caucasian Republics. However Turkey wanted to sign a separate agreement with these nations. After some diplomatic negotiations all parties decided to hold a conference in September 26, 1921, between Turkey and South Caucasian Republics with the participation of the Russian representative and on October 13, 1921 the “Kars Treaty” was signed between Turkey and the three South Caucasian republics. This Treaty consists of 20 articles and three appendixes.

Article V of the treaty defines the fate of Nakhchivan. In this agreement Nakhchivan is an autonomous Republic within the territory of Azerbaijan. Unlike “Moscow Treaty” article V of the Kars Treaty determines the autonomy of Nakhchivan, the signatories are Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

As a result of the Treaties of Moscow and Kars, the status of the territory of Nakhchivan was resolved and recognized by international laws. The Kars Treaty is signed for an infinite period and any of the signatories cannot revoke this agreement unilaterally.

As most of the nations of the world place a special emphasis only in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that is taking place within the sovereign territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan over the last 27 years; their respective leaders forget that the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan (Azerbaijan) is suffering tragic losses of its territory and its people are condemned to go through difficult economic times because of the isolation imposed upon them by the Armenian Regime in Yerevan. We must not forget that Nakhchivan is a cradle of human civilization and deserves a special attention from the world community.

“Treaty on friendship and fraternity between Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and Turkey.”

[1] Source: “Treaty signed with the participation of Russia, on friendship between Armenia Soviet Socialist Republic, Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic and Georgia.”

[2] The figures are cited from N.A.Sokolski’s book of “Materials on studying Nakhchivan SSR”, page 7, published in Tbilisi (1933)

Peter Tase

Peter Tase is a freelance writer and journalist of International Relations, Latin American and Southern Caucasus current affairs. He is the author of America's first book published on the historical and archeological treasures of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan (Republic of Azerbaijan); has authored and published four books on the Foreign Policy and current economic – political events of the Government of Azerbaijan. Tase has written about International Relations for Eurasia Review Journal since June 2012.

5 thoughts on “The Fate Of Nakhchivan: Repeated Violations Of Moscow And Kars Treaties – OpEd

  • October 23, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    The name Nachichevan means “first descended place” in Armenian….1000 years before any Mongol invaded Armenia.

  • October 24, 2015 at 4:00 am

    shame on you Mr. Tase. How much chaviar have azeries fed you.
    Shame on you again.

  • October 24, 2015 at 11:19 am

    The author, Peter Tase, assumes his readership consists of fools.

    Part I:

    If any college history freshman were to claim, as does Peter Tase, that the Treaties of Kars and Moscow are, “…two of the most important treaties that have taken place in the interwar period of the last century.”, that student would probably be asked to stay after class to offer an explanation of gross errors in fact and judgment.

    Peter Tase, however would have the rest of us believe that both Treaties of Kars and Moscow are more prominent, than:

    The Treaty of Brest- Litovsk (Bolshevik Russia and Axis Powers)
    The Treaty of Versailles (That basically ended WWI)
    The Treaty of Serves (Ottoman Empire and Allies)
    The Treaty of Lausanne (Ottoman Empire and Allies)

    Just to name a few in the “interwar” period.

    Peter Tase’s claim is clearly ludicrous. However, such claims flow out of Azerbaijani “think tanks” and “academic institutes” with a high degree of regularity.

    Part II

    If Armenia was interested in “taking over the Nakhichevan region”, it could have easily done so in the early 1990s when the status of the indigenous rights of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh was fought over and won. In 1921, the Armenian population of the Nakhichevan Region was just under 50%, by 1990 it was about 5%. Clearly, there was either no effort in sustaining an Armenian demographic or the Azerbaijanis forcing most of the Armenians out. This is in sharp contrast with the Armenians in the Region of Nagorno-Karabakh who in the early 1920s made up over 95% of the population and by 1990 it has dropped to just over 75%.

    However, it was Haydar Aliev, the father of the current Azerbaijani president, who on several occasions lamented over the policies of his predecessors who put Azerbaijan in the position of fighting the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh as ruining his plans to overrun the small strip of Armenian land that separates Azerbaijan from Nakhichevan. Peter Tase should ask his friends in Baku, Azerbaijan to provide him those news articles.

    Part III

    Both, Treaties of Moscow and Kars, were never signed by any recognized sovereign entity which puts into question its validity and probably is in violation of international law. This alone can form the basis of its abrogation, as was attempted by the Soviet Union in June of 1945. The Turkish Ambassador in Moscow was informed by Soviet Foreign Minister Molitov claims on Kars, Ardahan and Artvin, to be ceded to Armenia SSR and Georgia SSR. Nakhichevan was already part of the USSR. For example, the Treaty of Kars was signed on October 13, 1921 by:

    – The government of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. However, this was not the recognized government of Turkey at the time and further Article 7 of the only existing Ottoman constitution hadn’t be superseded by the constitution of the Turkish Republic which didn’t exist until October of 1923.

    – The internationally unrecognized governments of the Socialist Soviet Republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia – which were all clearly was imposed by the Soviet Red Army. In any case the USSR didn’t even exist until late December of 1922.

    In addition to this, the current Armenian constitution refers to the eastern provinces of Turkey as Western Armenia, squarely at odds with the legitimacy of these “earthshaking treaties”.

    Yerevan, Armenia

  • October 24, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    I wonder how much oil money the author of this article got from Azerbaijan to write this drivel. Azerbaijan is a counterfeit country created by the imperialist ambitions of Turkey less than 100 years ago. Before 1918 there were no “Azeris”, just Caucasian Tatars. Nakhijevan is a stolen Armenian province, just like the rest of Western Armenia.

  • October 24, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    A most one-sided, biased and rediculous “research” I have ever read about the usurped Armenian territory of Nakhijevan.


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