The Russian-Turkish Union and Collapse of the First Republic of Armenia

The Russian-Turkish Union and CollapseBefore you is the short chronology of the establishment of Russian-Turkish relations in April – December 1920 and the ensuing collapse of the First Republic of Armenia.

April 28, 1920: The Red Army entered Baku, leading to the Sovietization of Azerbaijan.

May 21, 1920: the troops of Soviet Russia approached the border of Armenia and without declaring war seized Artsakh. Drastamat Kanayan (Dro) decided to avoid any military clashes with the Russian troops and without resistance retreated to Syunik.

June – August 1920: Russian-Armenian negotiations took place in Moscow. The People’s Commissar of the Russian SSR Georgy Chicherin offered Levon Shant (Armenian writer and politician) to abandon the hope of the resolution of the Armenian Question through Europe and instead pass the Armenian-Turkish conflict under the arbitrage of Moscow.

At the same time, RussianTurkish negotiations took place in Moscow.

In the meantime, the Red Army seized Zangezur and Nakhichevan, thus ensuring land communication between the Bolsheviks and the Kemalists. Near the town of Oltu in Erzurum Province, Turkish-Armenian clashes occurred.

August 10, 1920: Russian-Armenian treaty was signed. Soviet Russia recognized the independence of Armenia but refused to withdraw its troops from Zangezur, Nakhichevan, and Artsakh. Those territories were declared to be debatable lands. On the seized territories, the positions of the Turks and Caucasian Tatars got reinforced. Local Armenians were also persecuted.

August 24, 1829: a treaty of “sincere and cordial friendship” was signed between Russia and Turkey. In accordance with the treaty, a part of Western Armenia was recognized as an inseparable part of the “Turkish homeland.” Opposed to the “imperialistic Entente”, the Bolsheviks promised the Turks to continue to supply them with armament to support them in their struggle against Armenia, an ally of the Entente.

September 1-8, 1920: Russian, Armenian, and other Bolsheviks together with the Kemalists hosted the first convention of “downtrodden” people of the East. A delegate at the congress was Enver Pasha. At the congress, a “sacred war” against the worldwide imperialism – Entente and its ally Republic of Armenia was announced.

September 18, 1920: the “Council of propaganda and future actions” established at the congress accepted a resolution proposing the Kemalists to commence a military campaign against Armenia. Then, to prevent a new “Armenian-Turkish massacre”, the resolution proposed to deploy the Red Army in Armenia and set a Soviet regime in the country. Factually, the decision to destroy Armenia and split it up was made.

September 23, 1920: at the provocation of Soviet Russia, Kemalist troops attacked Armenia, commencing the Armenian-Turkish War. A peace treaty would be signed on November 18, by which Armenia factually acknowledged its defeat.

October – November 1920: the arrival of the delegation of Bolshevik revolutionary Boris Legran in Armenia. Soviet Russia offered Armenia to accept the conditions of Sovietization.

On November 29, while Armenian-Turkish negotiations were taking place in Alexandropol, the Red Army without declaring war invaded Armenia and on behalf of a non-existent worker-peasant uprising proclaimed Armenia a Soviet republic.

December 2, 1920: Sovietization of Armenia in accordance with the Russian-Armenian Treaty of Yerevan. The First Republic of Armenia thus collapsed. Several hours later, Alexander Khatisian signed the Treaty of Alexandropol.

March 16, 1921: the agreement of “friendship and brotherhood” between Bolshevik Russia and Kemalist Turkey was signed in Turkey. In accordance with the agreement, the areas of Kars and Surmalu were transferred to Turkey and Nakhichevan to the Azerbaijani SSR. On July 5, a decree by Kavbiuro assigned Arstakh to Azerbaijan.

by Arshaluis Zurabyan

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