On June 12, 1903, the decree of Nicholas II on the confiscation of property of the Armenian Church was issued. At the call of Catholicos Mkrtich I Vanetsi (Khrimyan Khayrik, Armenian: Մկրտիչ Ա Վանեցի – Խրիմյան Հայրիկ), the Armenians of the Caucasus came out to fight against this decision.
In the Transcaucasia, demonstrations and armed clashes took place in Armenian-populated areas. The first armed clash occurred in the city of Gandzak in Elisabethpol Governorate on August 29, 1903.
A peaceful rally was held in the courtyard of the church of St. Hovhannes, in which about 10 thousand people participated. The protesters chanted: “Tsar, cancel your decision!”
Shortly, detachments of Russian Cossacks approached the demonstrators. They threw grenades into the Armenians and opened fire at them. The Cossack detachments were commanded by the vice-governor of the Elisabethpol Governorate Andrey Andreev.
12 Armenians were killed on the spot, and 70 people were injured. A few days later, another 21 people died. Among the victims were children, women, and old people. Hundreds of protesters were brutally beaten and tortured. After the dispersal of the rally in the Armenian quarters, searches and arrests began.
On September 11, 1904, in the village of Hadzhikand in 25 kilometers from Gandzak, a patriot named Grigor killed the organizer of the Armenian massacre in Gandzak Vice-Governor Andrey Andreev.
In the photo is the church of St. Hovhannes, now turned into a music club. Located on the territory of modern Azerbaijan, the city Gandzak is the present-day Ganja.