Sat, 29 Feb 2020
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The Foundation of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic
May 28, 1918 is a historical day for Azerbaijan as it was the day when Azerbaijan was declared   a Democratic Republic, first of the Muslim nations in the East. After the disunion of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic , the Azerbaijani members of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic declared that Azerbaijan was henceforth a Republic.  The major countries of the world had been informed about the official and legal foundation of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic (ADR).
It should be highlighted that the national movement which was formed during end of 19th and beginning of 20th century played a crucial role in the foundation of the ADR. Proclamation of independency had clearly showed the will of the Azerbaijani people to live as an independent nation. The foundation of the ADR was the logical completion of the national movement which united in itself the different layers of society. As a result of the national movement and the fall of the tsarist regime in Russia, Azerbaijan became the first Democratic Republic in the Islamic world. For instance, Turkey became the Democratic Republic 5 years later, on October 29, 1923. Another great and historical success achieved by the ADR was the establishment of parliament in December 1918. The parliament of the ADR consisted of not only different political parties, but also of different ethnic groups. The new proclaimed state managed to create the main governmental institutions, financial system, military forces, etc. 
The Declaration of Independence of the ADR.
An unplanned meeting of Azerbaijani deputies of the Transcaucasian Seim was organized on May 27, 1918. The reason for the meeting was to discuss the current political situation. Taking into account the gravity of the political situation, Azerbaijani members of the Transcaucasian Seim made a decision to form a temporary National Council. Mammad Amin Rasulzade  who represented the “Musavat”  party had been elected the chairman of the temporary National Council through a secret election. On May 28, 1918, in the organized meeting of the temporary National Council was declared the ADR. After the proclamation of independence, the structure of the first national government led by Fatali Khan Khoyski  was approved on May 30, 1918. 
National Charta was declared consisting of the following points: 
1. Azerbaijan is fully sovereign nation; it consists of the southern and eastern parts of Transcaucasia under the authority of the Azerbaijani people.
2. It is resolved that the form of government of the independent Azerbaijani state is a democratic republic.
3. The Azerbaijani Democratic Republic is determined to establish friendly relations with all, especially with the neighboring nations and states.
4. The Azerbaijani Democratic Republic guarantees to all its citizens within its borders full civil and political rights, regardless of ethnic origin, religion, class, profession, or sex.
5. The Azerbaijani Democratic Republic encourages the free development of all nationalities inhabiting its territory.
6. Until the Azerbaijani Constituent Assembly is convened, the supreme authority over Azerbaijan is vested in a universally elected National Council and the provisional government responsible to this Council.
Participation of the Azerbaijani Peace Delegation in the Paris Peace Conference. “De facto” Recognition of the ADR by the Supreme Council at the Paris Peace Conference.
One of the glorious pages in the history of the ADR is a “de facto” recognition of independency at the Paris Peace Conference . The Paris Peace Conference is well-known in history as the meeting of the leaders of the major powers and outstanding politicians of that time- Winston Churchill, Woodrow Wilson, Lloyd George, Georges Clemenceau, Jules Cambon, George Curzon, are some of them who had taken part in the conference. 
On 28 December 1918, Fatali Khan Khoyski approved delegation for the participation at the Peace Conference. The delegation consisted of some prominent politicians of the ADR government as: 
Alimardan Topchubashov -chairman;
M. G. Hadzhinsky-the vice-chairman; 
Akbar Agha Sheikhulislamov and Ahmad Aghayev- members of delegation;
Mammad Meherremov and Jeyhun Hajibeyli- advisers.
The newly formed government of the ADR was doing everything possible to eliminate the numerous internal political and economic obstacles that the young independent republic faced after the proclamation of its independency. In this time, the Azerbaijani delegation in the Paris Peace Conference was aspiring to receive the support of world community. 
The Azerbaijani delegation had managed to meet the U.S. President V. Wilson on May 28, 1919. The head of the Azerbaijani delegation, A. Topchubashov handed to V. Wilson the copy of the memorandum which was submitted at the Parisian Peace Conference.  The memorandum consisted of 6 points: 
1. That the independence of Azerbaijan be recognized by the members of the Paris Peace Conference.
2. That the Azerbaijani delegation be admitted to the Paris Peace Conference.
3. That Wilsonian principles be applied to Azerbaijan.
4. That Azerbaijan be admitted to the League of Nations.
5. That the United States War Department extend military help to Azerbaijan.
6. That diplomatic relations be established between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the United States of America.
The Azerbaijani and Georgian delegations had been officially invited to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France on January 5, 1920. Both delegations were hosted by the first secretary of the ministry, Jules Cambon. Cambon handed to Topchubashov the official declaration of the Paris Peace Conference on the "de facto" recognition of the ADR by Supreme Council. 
On January 19, 1920 at the meeting of the Supreme Council of the Paris Peace Conference was declared the memorandum prepared at the request of the Supreme Council.
The memorandum consisted of the following points: 
1. Recognition of Azerbaijan and Georgia;
2. Delivery of weapons and equipment to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia;
3. Financial and military support for Azerbaijan and Georgia;
4. Additional measures for strengthening the defense of Baku.
5. Provision of Caspian coastal defense and barring Bolshevik access to the Caspian Sea and Caspian flotilla.
The recognition of the ADR at the Paris peace Conference in January, 1920 happened as a result of the great aspiration of the Azerbaijani delegation. After achieving historical success, N. Yusifbeyli, the Prime Minister of the ADR government addressed to Topchubashov the following letter to Paris:
Taking an opportunity, I consider it a duty to congratulate you and all members of our delegation on recognition of independence of Azerbaijan by the Entente. Please accept my sincere gratitude for your works which promoted such a favorable and long-awaited result. 
The Invasion of the Red Army and Fall of the ADR. 
The ADR government did everything possible to protect the independency of the ADR, but unfortunately these efforts were fruitless and the tragical fall of the ADR happened. It has to be clear highlighted that there were no negative internal factors that led to the collapse of the ADR, but the ADR was just occupied by the Red Army.
Despite the “de facto” recognition of the ADR at the Paris Peace Conference, Azerbaijan had fallen as a result of the invasion by the Soviet Union. Russia did not renounce its imperial ambitions against the sovereign states, despite the change of the political regime in Russia. April 1920 was the month when the ADR ceased to exist because of the occupation by the Soviet Union. A protest insurrection against the occupation of Azerbaijan by the Red Army was organized in Ganja in May 1920. By the end of May, the uprising was brutally suppressed by the military forces of the Soviet Union. 
In December 1922, Azerbaijan had been included in the structure of the USSR – as a part of the Transcaucasian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic, and after the collapse of the Transcaucasian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic, Azerbaijan continued its existence as the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.
The Repressions against Members of the ADR Government.
The prominent politicians of the ADR left Azerbaijan. Some of them immigrated to Georgia, Turkey, Iran and European countries. Most of them had never managed to return to their homeland and died in other countries. The Red Army had a directive to not let prominent faces of the ADR to leave Azerbaijan. More than 20 Generals of the ADR were executed.  Not only were repressions organized against the prominent politicians and generals of the ADR government by the Soviet government and the Red Army, but some prominent statesmen and generals of the ADR were murdered as a result of the terror acts of the Dashnaks. 
Two Prime Ministers of the ADR- F. Khan Khoyski and N. Yusifbeyli were some of the victims of the long list of the murdered prominent Azerbaijani politicians, statesmen, generals.
The former Prime Minister and Education Minister of the ADR government, N. Yusifbeyli managed to leave Baku after the occupation of the city by the Red Army, but he was killed on 31 May 1920. The murderer has not been identified.
Another outstanding politician and the first Prime Minister of the ADR- F.Khoyski was murdered in Tbilisi. After the occupation of Azerbaijan by the troops of the Soviet Union, he fled to Georgia leaving Baku. He became the first victim in the list, which consisted of 41 high ranking statesmen of the ADR. These assassinations were approved in the 9th congress of Dashnaktsutyun. F.K. Khoyski was murdered by Aram Yerganian  on 19 June 1920.
The Achievements of the ADR.
Even though the ADR existed for less than two years, its government achieved significant successes-the establishment of the first and democratic parliament in the Muslim East, “de facto” recognition of ADR in the Paris Peace Conference, the construction of international diplomatic relations with major states of the world, the establishment of Azerbaijani as a main and official language in Azerbaijan are some of them. Also, the young proclaimed Republic managed to realize some important reforms in major spheres like education, army, medicine, etc.
The ADR government adhered to secular principles. Secularism was one of the fundamental intentions of the new proclaimed government. Regardless of religion, nationality and political view, all citizens of the newly proclaimed Republic had the same rights. In this regard, the founder of the ADR, M.E. Rasulsade wrote: the fact that most part of state consists of Azerbaijani Turks does not give them any advantages over other ethnic groups, on the contrary, this fact imposes additional responsibility on them. 
Though the Azerbaijani parliament consisted of Azerbaijani Turks in majority, it was also represented by the Russian, Polish, Jewish and German minorities.  This fact is another important indicator of the existence of secularism and multiculturalism in the ADR.
Once there was no gender equality in many European countries and women did not have any right to take part in the elections until the early 20th century, Azerbaijani woman had the same suffrage right with men. This law was adopted on 21 July 1919.  All these above mentioned facts prove that even though the ADR had existed only 23 month, new proclaimed Republic achieved significant successes in many spheres.
The historical Importance of the ADR.
Despite all obstacles, the ADR had managed to advocate the national interests and convinced the world community to commit towards democratic principles and peaceful co-existence with all people and the states. With the establishment of the first parliament in the Muslim East and the recognition in the Paris Peace Conference, the ADR government demonstrated its aspiration to be an inseparable part of the democratic world. The significant work of the ADR government left unforgettable traces in the history of Azerbaijan statehood and in the memory of the Azerbaijani people.
Today, Azerbaijani people remember with immense gratitude Mammad Amin Rasulzade, Alimardan Topchubashov, Fatali Khan Khoyski, Nasib Yusifbeyli, and many other outstanding politicians of the ADR who were not only talented statesmen and skillful diplomats, but also people who wanted to see Azerbaijan independent and part of the sovereign world. Thanks to the grandiose effort of these people, Azerbaijan could proclaim its independency. Next year Azerbaijani people will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Democratic Republic in the Muslim East.
Although the ADR existed only 23 months and had fallen after the invasion of the Soviet Army, the efforts of M. A. Rasulzade, A. Topchubashov, F. X. Khoyski and other prominent politicians were not fruitless. The aspiration of freedom and independency was passed to the next generations. Hence, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan became independent for the second time in its history, as the founder of the ADR, M. A. Rasulzade said: “The flag once raised will never fall”. 
1) The Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic was a very short existed (22 April – 28 May 1918) Federation, which also well-known in history as the Transcaucasian Federation. The Transcaucasian Federation consisted of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
2) Swietochowski, Tadeusz (2004). Russian Azerbaijan, 1905-1920, the Shaping of a National Identity in a Muslim Community, p. 129.
3) Mammad Amin Rasulzade was a very prominent statesman and public figure. Rasulzade was the first and because of occupation of ADR by Soviet Union, the last president of the ADR. Rasulzade is also well-known as a founder of ADR. He died in exile in Turkey on 6 March 1995.
4) "Musavat" is translated from Arabic as "equality, "parity". "Musavat" is one the oldest political organizations in Azerbaijan. After occupying Azerbaijan by Red Army in April 1920, the representatives of "Musavat" were murdered or exiled from Azerbaijan.
5) Fatali Khan Isgenderoglu Khoyski was very well-known politician, statesman. He was the first Prime Minister of the ADR.
6) Swietochowski, Tadeusz (2004). Russian Azerbaijan, 1905-1920, The Shaping of a National Identity in a Muslim Community. Cambridge University Press. p. 129.
7) Paris Peace Conference is also famous as Versailles Peace Conference.
8) J.Hasanli, Priznanie ADR na Versalskoy mirnoy konferensii, vajnaya pobeda azerbaydjanskoy diplomatii, S.10. (The recognition of the democratic republic of Azerbaijan at the Versailles Peace Conference – an important victory for Azerbaijani diplomacy, p. 10.).
9) A. Topchubashov was a very famous Azerbaijani statesman, foreign minister of the ADR government and the head of the Azerbaijani Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference.
10) J. Hasanli, "Alimardan bay Topchubashov", 22.04.2013.
11) Bulletin d'Information de l'Azerbaidjan, No. I, September 1, 1919, pp. 6–7.
12) Bulletin d'information de l'Azerbaidjan, No. 7, January, 1920, p. 1. Also, Jamil Hasanli, the recognition of the democratic republic of Azerbaijan at the Versailles Peace Conference – an important victory for Azerbaijani diplomacy, Spring 2010, p. 12.
13) Jamil Hasanli, the recognition of the democratic republic of Azerbaijan at the Versailles Peace Conference – an important victory for Azerbaijani diplomacy, Spring 2010, p. 13.
14) "Parijskiy archiv", Kniqa 1, 1919–1921. (Parisian archive, the first book, 1919-1921).
15) The 1920 Ganjarevolt, the first armed stand against the Sovietization of Azerbaijan,
16) Azerbaijani Generals and Admirals, Military Leaders and Heroes,
17) Armenian terrorist organization, which organized many terror acts against Azerbaijani prominent politicians, generals and ordinary people.
18) Aram Yerganian is a very prominent person for his assassination of prominent politicians like Behaeddin Sakir and Fatali Khan Khoyski.
19) Balaev A. Azerbaydjanskoe natsionalnoe dvijenie v 1918-1918 qq. s. 255. (The Azerbaijani national movement in 1917-1918, p. 255).
20) Azerbaijan: History Archived March 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine 
21) The first Muslim women granted the right to vote, 29.11.2016,
Yunis Gurbanov is a PhD candidate in Politics in the Chair for International Relations and Foreign Policy of the Research Institute for Political Science and European Questions at the University of Cologne and visiting scholar at Columbia University. His interests consisted of some topics like geopolitics, conflicts in the South Caucasus and entire post-Soviet Region, and energy politics in the South Caucasus and Central Asia as well.
25.05.2017 - Hit : 3624

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