On December 14, 2005, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, at an event dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences, called on Azerbaijani scientists to engage in a program to justify to the global community the lack of historical rights of the Armenian people to the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
He promised substantial financial support for the creation of a program to unite Azerbaijani activists in developing and promoting the thesis that “Armenians came to Nagorno-Karabakh as guests.”
The main argument for this thesis, according to Ilham Aliyev, was a monument built in the 1970s that commemorates the 150-year settlement of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. Therefore, “Armenians have no right to claim that Nagorno-Karabakh belongs to them.”
By April 26, 2011, at the annual general assembly of the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences, he expressed his satisfaction with how Azerbaijani scientists positively responded to his call and quickly produced numerous “wonderful works based on real facts.”
Vladimir Zakharov, Deputy Director of the Center for Caucasian Studies at MGIMO and a historian, commented on Ilham Aliyev’s statements that Armenia was established on original Azerbaijani lands, stating that “historical research in Azerbaijan serves not science but the political ambitions of its leaders.” And the Azerbaijani authorities are deceiving their own people.
It should be noted that the author of the idea of falsification is not Ilham Aliyev himself but his father, Heydar Aliyev, who was the President of Azerbaijan from 1993 to 2003. As early as 1999, during a ceremonial meeting dedicated to the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, the then-President of Azerbaijan, the father of the current President Ilham, called on historians to “create substantiated documents” and “prove the ownership of lands where Armenia is currently located.”
Thus, according to V.A. Shnirelman (Soviet and Russian archaeologist, ethnologist, and anthropologist, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences), the Azerbaijani president gave a direct mandate to historians: to falsify and rewrite the history of the Caucasus.
But everything started even earlier, specifically in 1985 at the All-Union Archaeological Congress in Baku, when Davud Aga-ogly Akhundov (Azerbaijani architect and historian of architecture) put forward a theory suggesting that the typical monuments of Armenian architecture, khachkars, in Nagorno-Karabakh, Nakhichevan, and Syunik, are actually Albanian artifacts known as “khachdash.”
In fact, the Armenian word “kar,” meaning stone, was replaced with the Azerbaijani word “dash” of the same meaning. His speech provoked a big scandal; Leningrad scientists labeled the presentation as a pseudoscientific political action. According to American archaeologist Philip Kohl, the speech was a deliberate provocation aimed at creating a new false cult myth.
One of the directions of these nationally motivated falsifications, carried out with full government support, is the glorification of the Albanians and presenting them as the supposed ancestors of Azerbaijanis to historically justify Azerbaijan’s claims to inherently Armenian territories.
Here, the main task of Azerbaijani propaganda is, firstly, to root Azerbaijanis in the territory of Azerbaijan, and secondly, to cleanse this territory of historical Armenian heritage (complete destruction of Djuga khachkars in Nakhichevan) or, conversely, to appropriate this heritage and declare it “Albanian.”
This direction of Azerbaijani propaganda in falsifying history is identified by Doctor of Historical Sciences V.A. Shnirelman as the “Albanian Myth,” about which he writes here, referring to revisionist concepts in Azerbaijani historiography.
Another direction of Azerbaijani-Turkish falsifications is the denial of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey in 1915, also the denial of the mass slaughter of Armenians in Baku in 1918, as well as the massacres in Sumgait in 1988 and Baku in 1990, and also accusing Armenians of the genocide of peaceful Azerbaijanis in Khojaly, with the main task being to cover up and obscure their own bloody deeds.
The third direction is the attempt to incite interethnic discord, mainly between the Armenian and Russian peoples. Another goal of stirring interethnic discord is the execution of what Prokhanov calls in his News Day Az interview, the “silent expansion” of Azerbaijanis into Russia.
With the subsequent goal of seizing power, to achieve the chimeric aim of creating the epic state of Greater Turan, which, by the way, has nothing to do with the Turks for the simple reason that it includes Iranian-speaking tribes and ethnic groups.
In conclusion to this material, it should be said that evidence of falsifications is provided not only by Armenian historians, but also by Russian specialists such as: V.A. Shnirelman, A.L. Yakobson—the late author of over 60 works, including “Essays on the History of Architecture from the 5th to the 17th Centuries in Armenia,” V. Zakharov, M. Meltyukhov, Iranian historian Javadi, and American historians and archaeologists Philip Kohl and George Bournoutian.