Chapter 2. The historical axis
Originating, evolving and spiraling among the Caucasian Tatars at the turn of the 20th
century along the same tracks as anti-Semitism in Russia, armenophobia now represents
an institutional component of Azerbaijan's modern statehood.This means that we come
to deal with a case of a profound rejection of Armenians in a context where the Azerbaijani
perceive them today as educated, successful and wealthy people, whose very existence
"stripped" the indigenous majority of their privileges and turned them into "uneducated",
"disadvantaged", "impoverished" people and so forth.
Historically, Armenians became the axis, around which the ethnic and national identity
of Azerbaijanis evolved[a]. At each point in history, the political and social discourse, the
statements of public figures and researchers drew contrasting comparisons between the
Muslim identity and Armenians.
The Armenian population with its relatively higher standard of living and higher level of
education was seen by the local Muslims as alien and hostile which far from constituting
any threat to their survival became a source of permanent sense of "inferiority" further
exacerbated by the satirical, public and social discourse of the scant Muslim (Azerbaijani)b
The profuse literary works, political and social discourse, pamphlets and satire, which laid
bare their own backwardness, obscurantism and the absence of a national identity, mainly
used comparison and contrast with the Armenians, rarely Russians and Jews, but were far
from favoring the Muslim (Azerbaijani) population.
Overall, three main levels can be identified in the Azerbaijani perception of Armenians:
- Idealizing Armenians and setting them as a role models;
- Regarding Armenians as equals;
- Debasing and rejecting Armenians on the brink of an unabashed policy of xenophobia
and bigotry against Armenians.
At the turn of the 20th century writers, public and artistic figures marked a clear borderline
in their perception of Armenians and the local Muslim (Azerbaijani) population by viewing
Armenians as a standard and example to emulate; this tendency is readily traceable in the works of Azerbaijani intellectuals.
The self-criticism that hinged on a contrasting comparison with Armenians found expression
in all significant areas of public and social life. By the early 20th century, the education
among the Muslim (Azerbaijani) population was still at a rudimentary level, while regions
with the Armenian population had primary schools that had been offering joint education
to children of both sexes as early as in the mid-19th century. Thus, the first school opened in
Shemakh in 1863. The need to school the children was seen by the local Muslim population
as something alien that collided with their customs and traditions and led to a greater
exclusion of Armenians.
In 1875, Hasan bey Zardabi[c] addressed his compatriots with these words: "Muslims!
Don't you regret that the whole world, and even our neighbors, seeks enlightenment,
while we remain dead in our tracks waiting to "have everything stuffed in our mouths
and chewed for us"? Muslims, who care for the fate of their nation, open up your
Such comparisons and efforts to hoist the Muslim (Azerbaijani) population to the level
of Armenians drew from the local population led by the Muslim clerics strong feelings of
aggression and rejection towards Armenians. The clergy sought to keep the population within
the confines of the ummah[d], while the intellectuals fought for the nascent national identity.
Lack of education was the decisive factor that tilted the scales against the intellectuals and
by extension - against Armenians. The latter were frowned upon as catalysts of all woes
associated with these changes.
Here is how the famous composer Uzeyir Hajibekov[e] describes the comparison between
the Muslims (Azerbaijanis) and Armenians:
Look, my friend, Armenian or Russian children do not go to school before they turn
seven and receive a home education, while Muslim children stay away from school
at home even after they turn seven, eight or nine years of age. < …> Armenian or
Russian children are nurtured at home by intelligent and educated mothers who
put them to sleep and let them out for a walk in due time, who fill their leisure with
toys useful for both spirit, morals and physical health. Not a single bad or pernicious
word reaches the ears of these children. What do they hear then? Music splendid
for the mind and body, stories, poems and legends written specifically for children
by famed pedagogues, correct instructive words of their parents, conversations
of well-mannered and educated guests who visit their houses. What do they see
then? The walls of their homes are decorated with paintings and pictures of flowers
that please the eye, there are beautifully illustrated magazines and books on their
tables, cleanliness and order surround them and so forth. < …> And what about our children? May Allah have pity on them! All they hear is obscene language, swearing,
foul talk and intrigues! What do they see? They see nothing but the evil doings of
their elders; they are surrounded by ubiquitous dirt and waste. Places of their games
are full of dust and mud, and their playing is about... strangling cats, hurting dogs,
dipping mice in oil and setting them ablaze.
It must be noted that parallels between Armenians were drawn not to "hail Armenians as
superior" to Muslims. On the contrary, such parallels were acrimonious along these lines:
"we are unlike them", "we should resemble them", and "we do nothing to become more
educated and civilized like them".
Mirza Alakbar Sabir
Thank God, we are not Armenians, to send our boy to school.
There, look at our praised beanpole of the son-in-law who was a swat at school,
and what is there to gain from him?
No, I won't allow my baby boy to be schooled! He is still a tot!
Let my boy continue swearing, he is just but a little one!
25 August, 1908
This backfired as phobias in respect of Armenians did not abate; instead, they were heated
up and intensified. Considering the illiteracy factor of the population, it can be rightfully
claimed that there was virtually no direct link between 'the people and the intellectual
elite', and all communication was mediated through the clergy or a state authority which
protected the interests of the business and had a stake in maintaining the ignorance
and therefore their ability to control the masses and sought to eliminate their Armenian
During my stay in Baku I was extremely surprised by the vehement acrimony of
foreigners against Armenians; apart from a couple of isolated cases, their sympathies
were entirely in favor of Tatars. I must confess that I was impressed by this unanimity.
I came to Caucasus without any biased judgment; however, I was inclined to believe
that the sufferings of Armenians were greatly exaggerated by the European press
which blackwashed Tatars. Agayev to whom I paid a visit convincingly proved the
righteousness of Tatars, while the English, Russian and other disinterested observers
were almost unanimous in their condemnation of Armenians. Even plain Russian
soldiers and policemen who were asked to give their opinion on who was responsible
for the unrest responded without the slightest doubt: Armenians. Where racial and
religious hatred was white hot, it was hard to weigh all pros and cons at once.
I had no choice but to rely on statements of those who knew well this land and
seemed neutral. But I gradually came to the conclusion that foreigners were not
as unswayed in their judgments as it seemed at first. Let along the Muslim skill
of impressing, the position of foreign financial and business circles was influenced
by their competition with Armenians. But for Armenians, foreigners could lay their hands on the entire oil industry of this place, instead, they must deal with an able,
industrious and resourceful opponents < ... > all of the above explains the rancor
of foreigners against Armenians. A prominent English factory owner told me quite
straightforwardly that all Armenians must be annihilated.
The nascent small bourgeoisie under the guiding hand of Pan-Turanian ideologists
benefited the ignorance of the population to advance their objectives, i.e. consolidation
of the population of various ethnic backgrounds around the idea of the single ethnic selfidentification
based on the image of Armenian enemy rather than the common religion.
The image of the Armenian enemy has become the very impulse that was necessary for the
consolidation of the society and formulation of ethnic traits.
A. Agayev wrote during the clashes between Armenians and Tatars of 1905-06: "It
is thanks to these clashes that all Tatars of Transcaucasia came to realize that they
belong to a single kind and related with one another by close ties, and that there is
no difference between Tatars of Nakhichevan and Tatars of Baku".
A correspondent of 'Kavkazskoe slovo' ('Caucasian Word') newspaper S. Rafalovich
wrote in his memories:
"In my presence, the Minister of the Internal Affairs, Behbud
Javanshir, said: "Today I received Tagionosov. I told him that it was in the best
interests of Armenians not to come pleading to me. When I talk to Armenians, I
feel such resentment that I forget myself which is surely to make things worse for
Armenians". When asked why he chose to accept the post of such responsibility,
the Minister of the Internal Affairs, Behbud Javanshir responded: "Why? I became a
minister only to do away with Armenians".
Dr. Khosrov bey Sultanov (Minister of Agriculture and State Property), along with
many others, openly declared that in Azerbaijan there would be either no Armenians
altogether, or they would be given the status of the Turkish rayah (rightless creatures).
"Armenians have nothing to do here, let them go to their own country", vehement
nationalist voices were heard.
Asad Karayev: We rejoice in your success. We have no doubt that the sum of around
100 million allocated from Baku will not be spent without benefit. May Allah bless
the power of the money that can do more than mighty troops. Those who know the
thinking of Armenians will always know how to become their masters. There is no
Armenian who wouldn't sell everything for money. This nation holds nothing sacred
except money. This explains the large number of Armenian spies and agents as in no
other country money can achieve as much as in case of Armenians. It is a fact of life.
Wretched (poor) Jews are unjustly accused of this.
The 20th century - Soviet period
With higher level of education and with equal conditions and the absence of the need
to take personal part in the process of education, ethnonym and alphabet[f], historiography, etc., in the context of the rhetoric dictated by the epoch, Armenians came to
be viewed as an attained benchmark. This found its expression in the thesis of "Armenian-
Azerbaijani equality and brotherhood'', "friends for centuries" and "companions in arms in
the struggle", etc.
It must be noted that in daily life and at subconscious level comparison and contrast were
still quite common and were later on transferred into the areas of academic studies and
administration. The perception of Armenians and the behavioral patterns that ensued
formulated at several levels.
Outward – at the level of slogans and propaganda which were based on communist values
and represented as a whole a showcase where recent tragic events came to be termed as
"fratricidal war provoked by the tsarist regime".
In this sense, a footnote to the poem by
Sabir appearing in a publication in 1983 is quite illustrative.
Dedicated to clashes between Armenians and Azerbaijanis provoked by tsarist
regime in Caucasus in 1905 and published in 'Hayat' newspaper along with the letter
of Sabir in which the poet responded to the invitation for cooperation appearing
in the newspaper to mark the commencement of its activities. "For people who
made a bloodbath" etc.[g]. The reference is made to the fratricidal massacre between
Armenians and Azerbaijanis.
Or, the public statements of communist leaders of Azerbaijan:
Ex-president of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev: Comrades! The entire life, short but vivid
and full of profound meaning, the life of a professional revolutionary, versatile party
and state activities of Stepan Shahumyan are a symbol of his selfless fight for freedom
and the welfare of the working people, for the triumph of the communism ideals.
< …> Back in March 1918, Musavatists provoked an anti-Soviet rebellion in Baku
intending to quench the Soviet authority. Thanks to the resolute and firm measures
taken by Bolsheviks, the rebellion was suppressed. Bolsheviks of Azerbaijan spared
no effort in their struggle for the development of socialist revolution in all directions.
Despite intrigues of the bourgeois nationalists, in defiance of a mortal danger they
propagated in masses - in plants and workshops, in villages and provinces - the truth of the Lenin doctrine. The titanic labor of the chairman of the council of popular
commissars of Baku could be seen in all reforms of the commune. Sultan Majid
Afandiyev dedicated this figurative statement on him: "Stepan Shahumyan is the
guiding hand of the Commune of Baku, its mastermind, knowledge, and thought...
The compelling logic of his discourse hit and crushed the enemies of the Commune.
He is the favorite leader of the army of oil industry workers" < …> the noble image
of Stepan Georgievich Shahumyan is an inspiration for all generations of workers
<... >. And today, with pride and love we say that this great son of the Armenian
people, Stepan Shahumyan, is also a son of the Azerbaijani people, all peoples of
the Transcaucasia, all multinational and united Soviet people (long and thunderous
Latent perception implies the use of administrative resources with clear armenophobic
tendencies against the background of 'friendship', 'brotherhood' and 'solidarity'. This
very administrative resource became the instrument of self-assertion in the region and,
particularly on Armenian territories, and became the locomotive of the ambition to rewrite
one's own history, to find more ancient roots, ancient statehood, to define one's own unique
place and contribution into the treasury of the human civilization as well as to change the
regional demographics. And all this occurred in contrast and comparison with Armenians.
Ex-president of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev: In the future, we must create works so
as they continuously and constantly prove the claims of Azerbaijan to the lands that
host today's Armenia. We must do this. We must pave the way for generations to
These words uttered back in 1999 are a telltale evidence of the succession of the policy
initiated back in the Soviet period as confessed unequivocally by H. Aliev.
Heydar Aliyev, ex-president of Azerbaijan: "<... > I speak of the period when I was
the first secretary and contributed a lot to the development of Nagorno-Karabakh.
At the same time I sought to change the demographics of the region. Nagorno-
Karabakh raised the issue of establishing an institute, a university there. < …> I
thought and I decided to do so. But with one condition; there should be three sectors:
Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian. < …> Azerbaijanis from the neighboring regions
were directed not to Baku but there. We also sent Azerbaijanis from the adjoining
regions. I took this and other measures trying to increase the number of Azerbaijanis
in Nagorno-Karabakh and to crop the number of Armenians.
This was reflected not only in words but in actions: curtailing the rights and possibilities of
Armenians as an ethnic unit to favor the Azerbaijani population. This was not the first but
the most flagrant fact of mass discrimination in the history of the Soviet Azerbaijan, and it
was quite purposeful and targeted.
Perception in the daily life: along with the development and progress of Azerbaijan, the
country became caught between two worlds. On the one hand, there was Baku with its
Europe-oriented upper class with its flexibility, moderation and openness; on the other
hand, was the remaining part of the country, a huge social stratum that was retrograde and
remained at the level of 'ummah', with its typical apathy and impassiveness towards the
secular authority, with the traditional practice of docility and the customary religiousness.
A very illustrative example of xenophobia in daily life is described in an autobiographic
essay by Vahid Ghazi.
My grandmother used to tell us stories: "When we were kids, Armenians massacred
many Turkic people. At the time, they called us Turkic. They killed us everywhere.
They cut off the nipples of the women, laced them in strings and threw into our
trenches. Those who could not stand it and stepped forward were shot down. They
tied hot samovars on the backs of the people and made them run..."
Но бабушка никогда не говорила: ты тоже ненавидь армян! Знаю, слышал, что армяне растят своих детей с младенчества с чувством ненависти к тюркам, азербайджанцам. У нас этого не было. Ненависть связана с памятью. В нашей памяти ненависть не сохранилась».
But my grandmother never told me: "You must also hate Armenians!" I know, I heard
that Armenians bring up their children with a feeling of hatred to Turkic peoples and
Azerbaijanis. We did not have any such practice. The hatred links to memory and
ours retained no vestige of it.
It must be noted that in their interactions with Azerbaijani who referred to facts based on
their personal experience, all tentative of the Armenian side to hear a single confirmed
example of Armenian children brought up "in the spirit of hatred to all Turkic" remained
The testimony narrating the reaction of ordinary Azerbaijanis to the devastating earthquake
of 1988 in Armenia is quite illustrative in the context of aggressive armenophobia.
General Alexander Lebed:: The events unfolded with a relative calm up to December
7. In the evening of December 7, the news release of 'Vremya' announced that
Armenia suffered a tremendous earthquake. <... >. The silence was suddenly broken
by a sound, or to be more precise, by an entire roar of sounds that merged into a
single general howl of triumph and glee that increased in intensity. < …> In an
attempt to ascertain the nature of these sounds, I went out on the balcony along
with another five or six officers.
<…> На противоположной стороне улицы, наискосок от здания райисполкома, стояла большая жилая девятиэтажка. Во всех без исключения окнах горел свет, на всех балконах орали, визжали, улюлюкали, дико хохотали люди. Вниз летели пустые бутылки, зажженная бумага, еще какие-то предметы. Девятиэтажка не была одинокой в проявлении своего каннибальского восторга. Аналогичная картина наблюдалась во всех близлежащих домах. Район светился и исступленно восторженно выл.< …> On the opposite side of the street, right across the building of the Regional
Executive Committee there was a big nine-story residential block. All windows in the
building were alight without exception; people on the balconies yelled, screamed,
hooted and roared with wild laughter. Down went empty bottles, burning paper and
some other objects. This nine-story residential block was not alone in its expression
of cannibalistic mirth. The picture was identical in all adjoining buildings. The entire district beamed and howled in a frantic frenzy.
People that considered themselves civilized, educated to a certain extent and wellmannered,
some of them supposedly religious and following the covenants of the
Quran were united in this inappropriate barbarian celebration of a tremendous
human tragedy. I felt a strong urge to cross out this cursed residential block with a
long burst of my assault rifle. This could be the only way to make people degraded
to apes claim back their humanity. How many merry, kind reasonable, hospitable
people I met among Azerbaijanis! The discourse of many of them was so full of
passion and conviction! Where have all these reasonable and kind people gone?
How could it be possible that they all dissolved in this scum yielding to an impulse,
the extent of heinousness of which is hard to define? This was a riddle to me. There
can be only one interim and sad conclusion: any stage of civilization, any upper form
of social and economic life is separated from feudalism and even the savage horde
by a single step backwards, only one step... It takes just certain conditions, and
people immediately prove themselves capable of showing that they climbed down
the trees only very recently.
Vardges Bagratovich Artsruni, head of the construction complex of Armenia: The
Soviet Union still existed, and help streamed into the disaster zone from all parts
of the country. Azerbaijan too had sent some fuel tanks by railway. The fuel tanks
bore writing: "Congratulations with the earthquake! We wish you another one!"
The train was sent back, and it became clear that there would be no reconciliation.
This is impossible to forget. A little later, it became known that trains carrying food
and humanitarian aid which passed by railway through Azerbaijan were rolled over
to reserve tracks at Azerbaijani stations. Refrigerators were turned off for several
days, and after meat and other foodstuffs became spoiled the train was sent on
into the disaster zone. Mix trucks carrying cement were filled with water and after
staying idle for 2 or 3 days were sent into the disaster zone. The construction and
other machinery loaded onto platforms reached the regions of Armenia hit by the
earthquake not only with shattered windshields but with everything else that could
be broken (doors, windows, etc.). Following that, full blockade of the railway and
road communication ensued.
In December 1988, Armenia was hit by a disastrous earthquake that destroyed entire
cities and claimed a death toll of many thousand lives. The entire world stretched a
helping hand with humanitarian cargoes reaching Armenia from different parts of
the world. Azerbaijan too sent trains, but they were loaded with crutches and nails
The parallel existence of three separate sets of values which were equally fostered and
promoted ultimately led to an internal conflict within the Azerbaijani society which at
the outburst of the first conflicts with Armenia revealed itself in line with the non-Soviet ideology instilled in the minds of the people in the following fashion: to take revenge on
Armenians, to show them their place, to destroy them.
Decline of the Soviet period - Independent Azerbaijan
By the late twentiеth century as the Soviet Union collapsed, with a conflict between
Armenian and Azerbaijan and a de-facto military, another round of rethinking history, selfidentification,
comparison (or contrast) with Armenians commenced, but this time it was
on different precepts. Now Armenians were portrayed in a new quality as "not indigenous
people", as "weeds that must be pulled out", as a "cancerous tumor" etc.
We shall not dwell on the chronological order of the conflict and all ensuing consequences,
but we shall examine the ideology that served as the background against which these
events unfolded. Considering the fact that the Soviet press was still censored, nationalistic
ideas were instilled in the minds of the people through the ideologist-consumer system on
public rallies, in self-published leaflets or through rumors.
The first public rallies were held with anti-Armenian slogans of Khalil Rza Uluturk, the poet
of freedom and patriotism:
Şölə versin bu ləl, mərcan
Let us cherish our Baku
and purge it of scorpions!
Let it glim, our ruby of Azerbaijan
The Russian historian Andrey Polonskiy in his article Islam and Establishment of National
Self-identity by the 1980-90s writes that "Azerbaijan had a less significant share of relaxed
humanism compared to the majority of the Soviet republics. The crisis of Karabakh and
increasing level of armenophobia contributed to shaping a well-defined image of the enemy
which had a known impact on the character of this new identity (it was originally based on
aggression and was victory-oriented)".
The tendencies and notions of denigrating Armenians and repudiating completely
any contexts, comparisons or benchmarks with them going as far as to deny their very
presence in the region were recalled to life and put into practice. The new historiography
that swarmed with unabashed falsifications ranked very high in this policy of instilling and
The most favored practice of Azerbaijani authors was renaming medieval Armenian
political figures, historians and writers who lived and worked in Karabakh turning
them into Albanians. In this way, Movses Kaghankatvatsi who had written in
the Armenian language metamorphosed into the Albanian historian Moisey
Kalankatuyski. The same lot was reserved for the Armenian prince Sahly ibn-Sumbat
(Armenians preferred to call him Sahl Smbatyan) who underwent a transmutation
becoming half-Albanian, half- Azerbaijani.
The academician Farida Mamedova who is a fiery preacher of the myth on Albanian (that
is Azerbaijani) origin of Karabakh abuses the fact that the Azerbaijani readership does
not know Armenian to deliberately mislead it. Thus, in her book entitled The History of
Caucasian Albania, as evidence of "Armenian falsifications" she publishes a photograph of a
stone slab carrying an inscription in Armenian which is rotated at 180 degrees and tagged
as a "fragment of a genuine (Albanian) slab from the church in the village of Dash Salakhli
of Qazakh region" The inscription is so crisp that any person familiar with Armenian and
Armenian script can read it without any special training.
Without dwelling on numerous scholarly self-contradictions, we must only underscore
that using her feigned knowledge of the Armenian language and misleading her readership
is the keynote of her entire scientific activity and scholarly works. In this way, in an attempt
to prove the Albanian origins of Gandzasar Monastery[h], located in Nagorno-Karabakh, she
resorts to the same trick used earlier and passes the Armenian language for Albanian:
I saw the inscription in Gandzasar in 1978 when I was there along with Azerbaijani
scientists accompanied by Armenians of Karabakh for this very purpose. On my way
there I already knew of the existence of this inscription in the Gandzasar monastery
made at the behest of Hassan Jalal which reads specifically as follows: "... I built this
cathedral for my Albanian people" (in Albanian: - imaguvaniazgn).
The scholar that claims knowledge of the Armenian and 'Albanian' languages affirms that
imaguvaniazg is an Albanian word while, actually, it contains three Armenian words: 'im'- my (իմ), 'aguanits' from Aghvan (Աղվանից) and 'azg' clan (ազգ) merged into a single
word 'in Albanian language', and with the same meaning for that matter. But the most
interesting thing is that no such inscription has ever existed in Gandzasar. This is a blatant
example of an egregious falsification of the modern times.
Из учебной программы начали изыматься армянские Authors (в частности, произведения первого народного писателя Азербайджана – Александра ШирванзадеThe school curriculum was purged from Armenian authors (this particularly refers to the
works of the first people's writer of Azerbaijan, Alexander Shirvanzadeh[i]). The literary
works by Azerbaijani authors of the turn of the 19th century viewed as classics of Azerbaijani
literature which portrayed Armenians in the positive light and contained appeals for
brotherhood and peace (works of Sabir, Hajibekov[j], and Mirza Jalil[k]) were expunged.
Enlightenment advocates of the early 20th century were replaced by the partisans of ideology
and propaganda that appealed to a national unity balked by Armenians.
"Glory to the heroes of Sumgait" was the slogan of the public rallies bringing together
thousands of people in the city of Baku.
Bakhtiyar Vahabzadeh, people's writer of Azerbaijan: The time will come when we
will realize the courage and heroic deeds of plain Azerbaijani guys in Sumgait who
started the purge of our country from the Armenian filth.
In his book entitled Polygon of Azerbaijan, Aris Kazinyan notes an essential role of rumors
as a main propaganda weapon of all times in shaping the behavior of ignorant popular
It is very illustrative that at the beginning of the past century many journalists,
missionaries and diplomats who worked either in the Ottoman Empire or in the
Transcaucasia noted that the very fact of rumors about violent acts against
Muslims at the hands of Armenian was the symptom of a forthcoming massacre,
an anticipation of new Armenian pogroms. There is an amazing continuity not only
in the rites of violence, but also in the pretexts for perpetrating it. On the eve of
every Armenian massacre Ottomans and Turkish Tatars spread false rumors about
carnage of Muslim populations at the hands of 'gyavurs' in some remote areas,
about Armenian plans to attack Turkish districts in specific cities.
< …> In 1905, the
newspaper Tiflis Leaflet (Тифлиский Листок) published a report on the situation in
the Eastern Caucasia: "In the mid-August, the provinces of Aresh, Jevanshir and other
places were upset by a gruesome rumor: it was claimed that Armenians attacked
peaceful nomads near the village of Vank and massacred many women and children.
Three hundred armed horsemen from Aghdam moved into the area only to find out
that there had been a skirmish about seven stolen sheep, with two Tatars killed and
several Armenians wounded. Such conflicts happened every year and involved more
severe bloodshed. But the formal pretext was found (Tiflis Leaflet, 21.08.1905).
On the eve of the Sumgait massacre, the same traditional scenario came into play:
certain individuals appeared in Baku, Sumgait and other regions of Azerbaijan telling
the stories of Azerbaijani pogroms in Kapan (Kafan) region of Armenia and displaced
A similar scenario was staged in January 1990 during the massacre of Armenians
in Baku. An eyewitness of these events, the Colonel V. Anokhin reported: "I am sure
that the more fantastic the lie is, the higher are the odds that people will be taken
in. The deception techniques are sometimes monstrous. For instance, a public rally is
held in the neighboring district to commemorate 1000 dead in Kurdamir. When I tell
the residents of Kurdamir about it, they are astounded; they surely know that there
is not a single loss of life there. However, they themselves go around telling stories
of forty thousand Azerbaijanis killed in Baku".
As a result, all things that caused the alarm and concern of Azerbaijani thinkers again led to
the frustration of Azerbaijani intellectuals rather than consolidated it.
Mirmehdi Agaoghlu, writer:[l]My views of Armenians were shaped amid the famous
slogan: "He, who does not sit, is Armenian". The events on the central square began
with millions of people squatting and standing up following this command. Just like
the grown-ups, we, the kids, had a slogan of our own:
"Wherever you see Armenian,
hit him on the head with a pail". We had but one enemy: the Armenian enemy.
We heard this propaganda from the Azerbaijani television, we were taught this
at school. The Armenian 'dyga'[m] were our enemies. We grew up amid this hatred
towards Armenians. The state machinery of propaganda portrayed Armenians as
a fictitious people that never had statehood, parasites and cheap prostitutes who
lived off other countries. <... > Do you want to know the truth? In the past 20-25
years, your own historians and authors of propaganda told you lies. On the top of
it, Armenian sources also indulge in exaggeration. Now try to distinguish fiction
from reality. Every time I saw Armenian actors, scientists or representatives of
other spheres of life on Russian channels, I felt resentment but still asked myself the
question: If they are indeed such a tiny little nation that we can easily be done with,
why do we come across them everywhere? Why are we not like them?
So, gradually the hatred inside me transformed into a complex of inferiority. And I
felt angry because I had been deceived all this time.
Journalist Farheddin Hajibeyli:[n] Why do we always suffer a defeat? There is no one
to blame except us, boycott YOURSELVES!
Nobody is head over ears in love with black eyebrows and eyes of Armenians. They accomplished what they have today after decades of hard work. Let us consider
them our enemies cursing and abusing them, but for the sake of justice we must
recognize their right to all these victories, as they have been accomplished due to
their intellect and foresight. < …> Now, let us be honest: who is more worthy of
victories? Us or them?
After the country's independence, the Azerbaijani quest for national identity and
consolidation through inculcation and cultivation of the image of the external Armenian
enemy by manipulating the public mind was given free rein through self-expression.
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[a] At the beginning of the twentieth century, shaping of this identity occurred around the confessional core of "Muslims" or the ethnic core of "Caucasian
Tatars", while the process of ethnic consolidation around the ethnonym "Azerbaijani" was initiated as late as in the 1930s.
[b] It is incorrect to employ the ethnonym of "Azerbaijani" with reference to the pre-Soviet period, however, we must use this term for the sake of clarity.
[c] Azerbaijani educator and publicist.
[d] The Muslim community.
[e] "Our misfortune is in Ummah." See Attachment
[f] Dozens of letters have survived in which Mirza Fatali Akhundzadeh (Akhundov) asks his Armenian friend Mirza Malkam Khan, a prominent educator and
reformer, founder of the Iranian drama, publicist and diplomat, to create an alphabet for his wretched people. In a letter dated March 8 1871, he writes:
"Please, keep all my letters from the very first to the very last and compile them into a book. After we are gone, these letters will become notable historical
documents for future generations" <…> "With your idea to create and reform the alphabet you fulfilled your duty to the humanity and cultural development.
The history will keep your name, and our descendants will remember it with gratitude and respect". Axundovun erməni əsilli mütəfəkkir dostu, http://
[g] A line from the poem "Glory to Thee, my Lord!"
[h] Gandzasar (Arm. «Գանձասար», literally a mountain of treasures, Gandzasar Monastery) is an outstanding Armenian cultural monument, an active
monastery of the Armenian Apostolic Church, on the left bank of Khachen river near the village of Vank, Nagorno-Karabakh. The Armenian Catholicos Anania
Mokatsi first mentioned Gandzasar in the mid-10th century. Prince Hasan-Jalal Dawla, "a pious, devout and humble man of Armenian descent" built the
currently known church on the site of the old one mentioned back in the 10th century and consecrated it in a solemn ceremony on July 22, 1240. According
to legend, the head of John the Baptist severed at the behest of Herod rests in the burial vault of the church brought here from Cilician Armenia during one
of the Crusades; therefore, the church got the name of Surb Hovhannes Mkrtich (St. John the Baptist).
[i] His real surname was Movsisyan. Armenian writer and playwright, the first people's writer of Azerbaijan
[j] "Our misfortune is in Ummah." See Attachment
[k] "The teaching of Akhund and priest." See Attachment
[l] "The Armenian inside of me." See Attachment
[n] "Armenians and Muslims." See Attachment