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Armenian-Tatar massacres

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Title: Armenian-Tatar massacres  
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Subject: Stepan Zorian, Mammed Said Ordubadi, Armenians in Nakhchivan
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Armenian-Tatar massacres

Armenian–Tatar massacres
Part of Revolution of 1905
Baku oilfields, ca. 1905.
Date 1905–1907
Location Caucasus, Russian Empire
Result Violence quelled by intervention of Cossack regiments
Armenian groups Caucasian Muslim groups[1]  Russian Empire

The Armenian–Tatar massacres (also known as the Armenian-Tartar war and the Armeno-Tartar war and more recently, the Azeri-Armenian war[2]) refers to the bloody inter-ethnic confrontation between Armenians and Azerbaijanis (at the time commonly referred to as "Tatars")[3][4] throughout the Caucasus in 1905–1907.[5][6][7]

The massacres started during the Russian Revolution of 1905, and claimed hundreds of lives. The most violent clashes occurred in 1905 in February in Baku, in May in Nakhchivan, in August in Shusha and in November in Elizavetopol, heavily damaging the cities and the Baku oilfields. Some violence, although of lesser scale, broke out also in Tbilisi.

According to professor Firuz Kazemzadeh, "it is impossible to pin the blame for the massacres on either side. It seems that in some cases (Baku, Elizavetpol) the Azerbaijanis fired the first shots, in other cases (Shusha, Tiflis) the Armenians."[8] The clashes were not confined to the towns, and, according to Swietochowswki, citing Armenian sources 128 Armenian and 158 Azerbaijani villages were destroyed or pillaged,[9] while the overall estimates of lives lost vary widely, ranging from 3,000 to 10,000, with Azerbaijanis suffering higher losses,[10] which stemmed from Azeri mobs being organized poorly and Dashnaks on the Armenian side being more effective.[11]

In Baku

According to van der Leeuw clashes started in early February 1905 over the killing of a Tatar schoolboy and shopkeeper by Armenians.[12] 126 Tatars (Azeris) and 218 Armenians were killed during four days of fighting in Baku.[12]

Armenians sources such as Dasnabedian, or Walker claim that Azeris had started the conflict which gave Armenians a reason to give a strong response, Tatars had killed many unarmed Armenians in Baku, in February 1905. Walker also said that, "Tatars were free to massacre with impunity".[12]

13 September 1905 — in the Paris edition of the New York Herald:

In Nakhichevan

After the Baku clashes, Moslem communities in the Nakhichevan district began smuggling consignments of weapons from Persia. By April, murders of Armenians in the district began to assume alarming proportions and they applied to the Russian authorities for protection. However, Villari describes the district's governor as "bitterly anti-Armenian", and the vice-governor in Yerevan as an "Armenophobe".[13]

On the 25th May, acting on a prearranged plan, bands of armed Tartars attacked the market area in the district capital, the town of Nakhichevan, looting and burning Armenian businesses and killing any Armenians they could find. About 50 Armenians were murdered and some of the shopkeepers were burnt alive in their shops. The same day, Tartar villagers from the countryside began attacking their Armenian neighbours. Villari cites official reports mentioning that out of a total of 52 villages with Armenian or mixed Armenian-Tartar populations, 47 were attacked, and of that 47, 19 were completely destroyed and abandoned by their inhabitants. The total number of dead, including those in Nachichevan town, was 239. Later, in a revenge attack, Armenians attacked a Tartar village, killing 36 people".[14]

In Shusha

According to Thomas de Waal in Shusha, "the number of killed and wounded amounted to about 300, of whom about two thirds were Tartars, for the Armenians were better shots and also enjoyed the ad-vantage of position.[15]

In Ganja

See also




  • Luigi Villari (1906), Fire and Sword in the Caucasus ISBN 0-7007-1624-6
  • Thomas De Waal (2004), Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War, NYU Press, ISBN 978-0-8147-1945-9
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