Legran’s Letter to Chicherin About the Need to Encourage the Turks at The Expense of Armenia

Legran's Letter to Chicherin

The letter of the plenipotentiary representative of the RSFSR in Armenia Boris Legran was preceded by the surrender of Karabakh, Zangezur, and Nakhichevan by official Azerbaijan, as well as Stalin’s pompous message concerning “the once and for all solved Armenian problem.”

Stalin’s message, in particular, stated:

“The centuries-old enmity between Armenia and the neighboring Muslims was resolved with one blow – that is, by establishing fraternal solidarity between the working people of Armenia, Turkey, and Azerbaijan. Let those who are in charge know that only the Soviet Union managed to resolve the so-called Armenian ‘problem’ which has been puzzling the old wolves of imperialist diplomacy. Long live Soviet Armenia!”

“Pravda”, No. 273, December 4, 1920.

“Writings”, Joseph Stalin, “Gospolitizdat”, 1954, volume 4, page 413-414. (Marked out by us. – Yu.B.).

Then followed the note of the Turkish National Security Council to the People’s Commissar of Foreign Affairs of the RSFSR G. Chicherin. In it, the Turkish side protested against the transfer of the disputed territories of Karabakh and Nakhichevan to Soviet Armenia since it violated the people’s right to self-determination and rejected any arguments regarding their historical affiliation.

In an excerpt from the Turkish note below, arguments about the projected consequences of such a step in favor of England and so on are omitted.

“As for us, we believe that the passing of the mentioned regions to Armenia violates the right of self-determination of peoples and therefore will create a series of conflicts between the local population and the Armenian invaders.

In this regard, the energetic harassment of the residents of Nakhichevan, Karabakh, etc. that are without any reason given to Armenia is very characteristic. We also wish in advance to reject any historical arguments that you could present.

We do not believe in the sincerity of the appeal of Armenians to communism. We think that this is a comedy to enlist the support of Russia after they had lost the support of England. Armenia’s expansion under such conditions and its increasing closeness to England in Mesopotamia can give the government of Moscow and Angora unpleasant surprises. On the other hand, we cannot allow the conversion, even if sincere, of one people to communism to be rewarded by Turkish territories.”

People’s Commissar of the National Turkish Government Ahmed Mukhtar. Kars, December 21, 1920. Mdivani’s label: “The telegram is highly distorted.” RGASPI, f. 5, op. 1, d. 2203, ll. 25-26. Copy. (Marked out by us. – Yu.B.).

Finally, let’s have a look at a letter from the plenipotentiary representative of the RSFSR in Armenia Legran to the People’s Commissar of Foreign Affairs G. Chicherin. In it, Legran wrote about Turks’ distrust of the policy of the RSFSR and about the need to encourage them at the expense of the territory of Soviet Armenia.

“The Turks, apparently, are inclined to regard the creation of Soviet Armenia and our friendly mediation in the interests of the latter as the desire of the Soviet Union to create a barrier in Armenia capable of resisting the influence of Turkey on the Muslim countries of the Caucasus.

It is clear that the current statements of the Turks about their distrust of Soviet Armenia, the Communist Armenians, etc., although reflecting the historical national ideology of the Turks, mostly cover their own distrust of the policy of Soviet Russia in the Caucasus. This is precisely what determines their current policy towards Armenians.

It seems to me that the Turks would like to exclude us from direct activities in the East, leaving us to develop the revolution in the West. If it turns out that the Turks are capable of exerting revolutionary pressure on the neighboring Muslim countries and that they can raise the revolutionary movement in the East, it will be excellent. If so, we need to provide them with freedom of independent actions, as well as give them Nakhichevan, pressurize Soviet Armenia, etc.”

RGASPI, f. 5, op. 1, d. 2127, ll. 2-6. Copy.

Source: Барсегов Ю.Г. Нагорный Карабах




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