The order of the commander of the Bayazet detachment, the chief of the Van garrison major general Nikolayev, city of Van, June 22, 1915.
The governor of Van has to immediately notify the Armenian population of that and demand them to not attack and rob the Kurdish villages and to not touch, sell, or lease the Kurdish lands and the villages that the Kurds return to. The whole Kurdish livestock brought with them should not be taken away by any means.
I entrust the district chiefs with the execution of this order.
I ordered Kurds to not attempt any riots, otherwise, we will eliminate our Kurdish hostages and wipe out their settlements.
I entrust the governor of Van with responsibility for any manifestation of the bloody strife between the Armenian and Kurdish surrendered population, be it on economic or other grounds.
An excerpt from Aram Manukyan’s letter, who was appointed the Van governor, to the commander of the Caucasian army major general Nikolayev:
1. Returning Kurds belong to the Aidarantsev, Takurtsev, Mlantsev, Shamiktsev, and Gravtsev tribes. Last autumn, these tribes assaulted and robbed the Armenian villages in districts of Begri-Kala, Archak, Saray, Bashkala, and Salmast. After the withdrawal of Russian troops, those Kurds specifically killed all the Armenian males of over 10 years of age in Bashkala, looted their homes and put all their dwellings on fire.
The whole male population of the Armenian villages Panz, Pis, Alas, Alalyan, Sotan, Rusulan, and others, was kicked out into open field and killed. More than 500 people died, others have been forcibly converted to Islam.
Since the December of the last year, Kurds burned all the houses and churches and completely devastated the Armenian villages of Adiljevaz, Arjak, Berkri, Saray, Bashkala, Khoshap, Hayots-Dzor, Gyavash, Karkar, and Karchkan.
The monasteries of Ter-Uskan Vordi (Surb Stepanos), Surb Varoslomey near Bashkala, Sorp and Urantz in Karchkan, Surb Grigor, Karmravor, and Varak were burned down. Among the witnesses of the unprecedented killings and plunder were victorious Russian troops and Armenian units headed to the city of Van.
The aforementioned Kurdish tribes fought with the Turks against Russian forces on the Persian border. After defeat, they surrendered to Russians.
But as soon as the withdrawal of Russian troops started, Kurds rejoined the Turkish troops immediately to chase after the Russian army.
In the spring of the present year, the Kurds took part in all battles near Dilman but retreated to the south after defeat. It is widely known that they attacked the Bayazet unit and the Cossacks near Abaga.
Currently, after facing significant issues with supply of food and water, Kurds try to convince Russians of their loyalty. Of course, they will go back to supporting Turks as soon as possible.
Considering the attitude of Kurds towards the Russian army and Armenian population and the fact that all Kurds of 17-60 years of age are part of Turkish military units, we think that they should be viewed as either prisoners of war or just criminals who should be punished.
2. The events of past autumn have demonstrated the unreliability of the Kurdish tribes. Establishment of Kurdish units in the rear of Russian army is extremely dangerous for the latter. In particular, if Kurds interfere with communication of Van-Julfa and Van-Igdir, the Russian army will not be able to reach its headquarters. There aren’t any reasons to trust the loyalty of Kurds.
First, they only give in the very small part of their arsenal. Moreover, the weapons they handed in were the oldest or broken ones. Secondly, the combat-ready Kurds are not among those returning to Kurdish settlements.
Their soldiers still remain in the mountains and pose a serious danger.
By sending women, children, and elderly to their villages, Kurds are actually facilitating their movements in the region. Another evidence of the unreliability of the Kurds is the fact that many of their combat-ready members get permission to return to their settlements to then just leave and move in to Persia.
3. In the rear of the Russian army, the Kurds are able to report the exact numbers and composition as well as plans of Russian units to the Turkish headquarters. It is further complicated by their knowledge of local terrain and the Russians’ inability to put a reasonable number of outposts to control their every movement.
4. The comeback of Kurds results in the violation of peace in the region of Van as those returning are a part of the tribes responsible for slaughters and pillage in Armenian settlements.
Can you expect that relatives of victims of those crimes will calmly watch the resettlement of the Kurds? Revenge of Armenians is unavoidable, moreover, it can reach quite a scale and create a mess in the rear of Russian troops.
We should consider that Kurds still have not only the property of Armenians but kidnapped women as well. The Kurds have beat some of them up in an attempt to eliminate any evidence of their atrocities.
5. The permission to return to their settlements without any penalty makes the Kurds think that they can do anything with impunity. Your order to the Bayazet unit will serve as an indirect approval for those Kurds who have not yet surrendered and are fighting against Russian units at the moment.
They will continue to murder and rob Armenians in confidence that after defeat they not only won’t be punished by Russian army but will receive patronage as well.
6. The aforementioned order will result in despair among those Armenians fighting against Turks and Kurds and interrupting their communications in unconquered regions.
The thought that the murderers and robbers of their compatriots will get away scot-free will weaken their motivation to fight against their enemies. That news will stun the Armenians who are the only force in the Turkish empire sincerely wishing to help Russians to succeed.
Armenians will notice that the attitude of Russians towards both their allies and enemies who killed Russian soldiers is the same. It is not difficult to imagine how much the Armenian people will be disappointed in Russia, which they considered their defenders against and liberators from Turks.
7. At last, the aforementioned order does not agree with the declaration of organizers of the mass slaughters and robbery personally responsible for those crimes, accepted by Russian Empire’s government along with the allied powers.
Taking the above-mentioned reasons into consideration, I have to announce that I cannot take responsibility for the order in the region of Van and petition for:
1. The cancellation of the No34 order of 22 June 1915.
2. The prosecution of those Kurds who participated in massacres and plunder of Armenians.
3. The publication of a notice that those who commit mass crimes against Armenians will be severely punished.
In response, Nikolayev refused to cancel his order, reasoning it by the difficult condition of the Russian troops, so the peace with those Kurds surrendered was more beneficial in the conflict against the hostile Kurds distracting the Russian troops. In order to prosecute the criminal Kurds, the major general offered Manukyan to compose a list of those responsible for the crimes and present it for transfer to prosecutor’s office of the Russian Empire.
In fact, the order of the commander of the Bayazet detachment and the chief of the Van garrison major general Nikolayev acquitted all the previous crimes of the Kurds against the Armenians and limited the Armenians’ possibilities in self-protection.
Moreover, that order was a signal for the Kurds to continue the offensives against Armenians, which stimulated other crimes against the Armenian population. Who else thinks that there is a difference between the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union in their attitude towards Armenians and Armenia?
Sourse: Համատեքստ Hamatext