A Letter From the Dashnaks to the Governor of Baku Nakashidze

A Letter From the Dashnaks

In the book of Alexander Novikov is included a letter by the Dashnaks who warned the Baku Governor Mikhail Nakashidze that if he did not stop the massacre of Armenians, he would be killed. If the killings of the Armenians did not stop, the Dashnaks promised to enter Baku and protect the Armenians of the city.

Here is the text of a letter from the Dashnaks to the governor of Baku:

“Gracious sovereign! The bloody events that have been occurring during the last days have led us to the idea, which is becoming a conviction, that you and the police are responsible for all the shed blood. Not finding it necessary to give proof of your criminal behavior that cost the lives of dozens of innocent people, the Central Committee of the Armenian Revolutionary Party Dashnaktsutyun, before embarking on its sacred duty to defend the innocent victims and punish all the obvious and secret criminals, considers it not superfluous to inform you that if the bloodshed is continued, you will pay with your blood, and not only your own blood.”

Copies of this letter were sent to the vice-governor and the police chief. Baku authorities were frightened by this threat. They began to publish letters and articles, attempting to explain or make excuses for their actions.

As Alexander Novikov writes, the hypocritical authorities of Baku shed crocodile tears. It all ended with the Dashnaks deciding to act and entering the city in the spring of 1905. For the organization of the massacre of Armenians, the leadership of the Dashnak party decided to execute governor M. Nakashidze. Drastamat Kanayan (Dro) executed the sentence by dropping a bomb into the governor’s carriage.

As Vadim Harutyunov writes in the preface of his book “The Massacre in Baku. 1905”, one of the reasons for the Armenian killings in Baku in 1905-1906 was the authorities’ envy of the business activities of the representatives of the Armenian community, among whom there was a sufficient number of oil owners.

Alexander Novikov himself believed that the tsarist government – in particular, governor M. Nakashidze who by his inaction pushed the rioters to new murders – was responsible for these pogroms. The book contains unique and rare photographs of burned down Armenian houses in Baku, as well as the bodies of killed and tortured Armenians.

Alexander Novikov describes how memorial services for the victims of the Baku tragedy were performed in Tiflis. All mourning events were peaceful. Moreover, Novikov quotes the words of the Muslim mufti:

“I have lived for a long time among Armenians and have not seen anything ill from them, and Armenians have not seen anything bad from us either. Why should it be different now? We have one common enemy – the shaitan – and we must unite against him and defeat him with our joint forces instead of waging a fratricidal war. The enemy has beguiled us – may he be damned! Let’s unite, brothers – we will help each other, we will serve as a support for each other!”

I think this book is more important than ever. We must remember the sad pages of our history and do everything possible so that such tragedies never happen again.

George Bagdykov, “Massacre in Baku 1905”

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