Shushi Massacres

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The Shushi massacres [1][2] were anti-Armenian pogroms during the Armenian-Azerbaijani war, 1920, when Azeri and Turkish army soldiers with participation of Kurdish gangs attacked the inhabitants of Shusha (Shushi). The massacres took place on March 22-26, 1920, and resulted in more than 20,000 Armenian deaths and the destruction of the town of Shusha in Nagorno-Karabakh.[3][4][5]

Background[change | change source]

On June 4-5, 1919, an armed Armenian-Turkish fight took place in Shushi. It was organized and started by Azeri Governor-General Khosrov beg Sultanov. The town was closed off by a blockade, and the Armenian population found itself needing food.

Massacres in Shushi on March 22-26, 1920[change | change source]

From the very start of 1920, Governor Sultanov, breaking the temporary treaty agreement of August 22, 1919,[6] continued the blockade around Karabakh. He increased the number of armed forces in strategically important locations and gave weapons to the local Azeri population.

In the early morning of March 23, 1920, the Azeri army soldiers and Kurdish gangs attacked the Armenian part of town and began a horrible massacre of the Armenian population, which finished in March 26, 1920.

Remembering[change | change source]

The famous Russian poet Osip Mandelstam, who was in Shushi in 1931, wrote a poem called "The phaeton driver" dedicated to this tragedy:

So in Nagorno-Karabakh

These were my fears

Forty thousand dead windows

Are visible there from all directions,

The cocoon of soulless work

Buried at the mountains.[7][8]

In July 1, 1997, the Baroness Caroline Cox gave a speech in the House of Lords, United Kingdom remembering the lives of Armenians who have been killed and specifically mentioned the occurrence in Shushi in 1920.[3]

Research analyst Kalli Raptis in her book Nagorno-Karabakh and the Eurasian Transport Corridor wrote: "'In July 1918, the First Armenian Assembly of Nagorno Karabakh declared the region self-governing and created a national Council and government. In August 1919, the Karabakh national Council entered into a provisional treaty arrangement with the Azerbaijani government in order to avoid military conflict with a superior adversary'. Azerbaijan's violation of the treaty culminated in March 1920 with the massacre of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh's capital, Shushi (called Shusha by the Azerbaijanis)".[9]

Other websites[change | change source]

Publications[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Armenia in Crisis: The 1988 Earthquake - Page 6 by Pierre Verluise
  2. "British administrator of Karabakh colonel Chatelword didn't stop the discrimination of Armenians by Tatarian administration of governor Saltanov. The national clashes ended by the terrible massacres in which the most of Armenians in Shushi town perished. The Parliament in Baku refused even to condemn the accomplishers of the massacres in Shushi and the war was started in Karabakh. A. Zubov (in Russian) А.Зубов Политическое будущее Кавказа: опыт ретроспективно-сравнительного анализа, журнал "Знамья", 2000, #4,
  3. 3.0 3.1 Lords Hansard text for 1 Jul 1997 (170701-19)
  4. Why IDPs Matter in the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict by Seepan V. Parseghian, p.5
  5. Historic Maps of Armenia: The Cartographic Heritage - Page 7 by Rouben Galichian
  6. "In August 1919, the Karabagh National Council entered into a provisional treaty agreement with the Azerbaijani government. Despite signing the Agreement, the Azerbaijani government continuously violated the terms of the treaty. This culminated in March 1920 with the Azerbaijanis' massacre of Armenians in Karabagh's former capital, Shushi, in which it is estimated that more than 20,000 Armenians were killed." The Nagorno-Karabagh Crisis:A Blueprint for Resolution, A Memorandum Prepared by the Public International Law & Policy Group and the New England Center for International Law & Policy, June, 2000, p. 3
  7. Осип Мандельштам, Фаэтонщик,
  8. Осип Мандельштам. Сочинения в 2-х тт. Том 1: Стихотворения, переводы. Москва, Художественная литература, 1990, c. 94.
  9. Kalli Raptis, "Nagorno-Karabakh and the Eurasian Transport Corridor",