Ekaterina Orlovskaya: “I arrived in Baku on Sunday. Mr. Mdivani who stayed in that hotel I was in paid a visit to me and told me: ‘You arrived at a difficult time. A month and a half ago, it was already decided to get it over with the Armenians. At the last meeting, on Friday, February 4, it was decided to finally wipe out the Armenians.’
I saw out of the window as the police chief passed by and parked his phaeton for some reason. At this very moment, before his eyes, a Tatar killed an Armenian. But the chief drove on without paying any attention to it.”
A correspondent of the Mshak newspaper: “The Tatars, bursting into the house of Karapet Aziyants, first demanded money. After receiving the money, they separated the men from the women and children. Everyone realized that they wanted to slaughter the men. The women begged to spare the men’s lives, but the Tatars answered that they could not do that because the governor had ordered so.”
Movsumov: “A young Tatar from the intelligentsia told that he had witnessed the following. The governor was accompanied by a convoy and translator Shakhtakhtinsky. A crowd of 40 armed Tatars surrounded him. The governor then turned to them and said: ‘I will not interfere you. Slaughter, kill, rob the Armenians on the streets, but don’t touch or rob houses. Otherwise, I will be forced to order the troops to act…”
For his speech, Mr. Movsumov was severely beaten by his co-religionists who even threatened to kill him. He was forced to flee from the Caucasus. Mr. Movsumov wrote to his friend from the place of his exile:
“Preparations had been going on for two months already. Bailiff Mamedbekov from the first station and his assistant Sultanov incited Tatars to slaughter Armenians at the Mirzabekyants factory in summer. They gathered the Tatars at tea houses and told them that since the Armenians did not want to take part in the “riot” (demonstrations), they were going to massacre the Tatars during the upcoming demonstration of workers. I myself witnessed this vile propaganda.”
Andrei Blush, an accountant: “I walked along Quarantine Street. I saw the corpses of those killed, and a crowd of Tatars stood next to me, armed with Smith & Wesson revolvers. Cossacks were passing by.
One of them proposed to disarm the Tatars. They answered him: ‘This is not your business, idiot!’”
V.M. Aslanov, a retired lieutenant: “On Monday, February 7, a group of Tatars attacked Khachaturov’s house. Three Armenians appealed for help to three Cossacks passing by this street. The Armenians came down on their knees, begging for help.
The Cossacks agreed to take one of them. Walking a few steps, one of the Cossacks saw the Tatars, winked at them, and pushed the Armenian forward. One of the Tatars killed the Armenian with a shot from his rifle. The Cossack joked: “Look, he doesn’t know how to shoot, he almost ruined the horseshoe.” Then, quietly, the Cossack took out a cigarette, asked a fire from the Tatar, and all three moved on.”
The archivist of the Baku District Court Nagibekov (a Tatar) told Aslanov: “On Wednesday, February 9, at about 3 o’clock, governor Prince Nakashidze was driving along Nikolayevskaya Street. Three Armenians met them, one of them a teenager.
Before the eyes of Prince Nakashidze, Tatars attacked the Armenians, killed one of them on the spot, and began to beat the teenager with a rifle butt. The Cossack accompanying Nakashidze approached the Tatars and took away the rifle. Prince Nakashidze shouted: “Give the rifle back to them!”
Ter-Hovhannesyants: “Approaching the governor, I told him that we were surrounded by armed Tatars, that our lives were in danger, and that we needed help. Namely, we asked for a few Cossacks to help us get out of the house and reach the Armenian part of the city. But the governor got angry with me and said: ‘Get out! Go to hell – do not bother me!’”
Ominous signs have long been visible. Even during the unrest in 1902 associated with the confiscation of the church property of Armenians, V. Doroshevich wrote: “The Baku Tatars with eastern naivety suggested that local administrators allow them to deal with the Armenians and guarantee that the Armenians would be silent! The East recognizes only one silence, which is eternal,” added Doroshevich.
In 1903, after the terrible Jewish pogrom in Chisinau (Kishinev), a captain of a steamboat, one P-ov told his interlocutor: “Remember my word. The same massacre will happen in the spring in the Caucasus.”
“Excuse me, but there are too few Jews in the Caucasus.”
“I am not talking about Jews but about Armenians. This massacre will be worse than in Chisinau.” The captain’s words were prophetic.
Excerpts from the book of G. Startsev “The bloody days in the Caucasus“, St. Petersburg, 1907