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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 31, 1945

MESSAGE TO BAGIROV ON A VISIT TO SOUTHERN AZERBAIJAN

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    A letter to Bagirov detailing a 10-day Soviet visit to Iranian Azerbaijan reporting on the progress of organizing the Azerbaijan Democratic Party.
    "Message to Bagirov on a Visit to Southern Azerbaijan ," October 31, 1945, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, GAPPOD, f.1, op.89, d.[95]. Obtained for CWIHP by Jamil Hasanli and translated for CWIHP by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/120543
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Top Secret

[Stamp:]

“No 1080 of [illegible] November 1945”

Copy No ____

CC CP (b) of Azerbaijan

to Cde. M. D. Bagirov

During the 10 days of our stay in Southern Azerbaijan we had meetings with a number of leaders of the Azerbaijan Democratic Party and held 4 conferences of the Troika with the participation of Pishevari, Shabustari, Badegan [sic, Padegan], and Kuliyev.

The situation in Azerbaijan can be characterized as the democratic movement assuming an ever broader scope. Regional elections of the Conference and elections to leadership organs are going successfully, without any special incidents. The slogans of the Democratic Party [are]: “National Autonomy” [and] “Introduction of [our] Native Tongue”, etc.; [it] is becoming more and more popular both among the intelligentsia and the popular masses.  But alongside this there are a growing number of difficulties associated with the rabid agitation of the Tehran newspapers and reactionary elements in Azerbaijan itself, who are striving to discredit the Azerbaijani Democratic Party and slander it. They are all trumpeting that the movement which has begun is a preface and is preparing the ground for a union of Southern Azerbaijan with Soviet Azerbaijan.  Of course, this situation frightens certain public circles in Azerbaijan itself. This is confirmed by Safvet – the Chairman of the Tabriz Society for Cultural Relations of Iran with the Soviet Union in a conversation with me on 24 October of this year and [by] members of the CC of the Democratic Party, Shabustari, Bireng, and Aga Zade, with whom a meeting was held on 28 October. We tried to convince them that this is a provocative rumor being spread by enemies of democracy and freedom who are afraid, as of fire, of the rallying together of all the forces of the people in a struggle for their independence.

Of course, still much more work will be required on the part of the leaders of the Azerbaijani Democratic Party and the press agencies in order to dispel these provocative rumors and enlist the progressive part of the propertied class to the Democratic Party.

We have given appropriate orders regarding these questions both to your people and to the leaders of the Azerbaijani Democratic Party in order to conduct agitation as convincingly and actively as possible and expose the intrigues of the reactionaries.

Karadag is one of those places where the democratic movement has developed very little. Pishevari cannot recommend anyone from this region to entrust with any important matter: moreover, the reactionary khans [sic] continue all kinds of repressive measures there against democratic elements, using the weakness of the work of the Democratic Party in this region [and] the lack of any kind of Soviet authorities.

In order to study the situation in both Karadag and in Ardabil’, Cde. Gasanov left on 28 October for these areas. We will determine the final measures to strengthen work in these areas after his arrival.

It would be exceptionally necessary to accelerate the establishment of a Soviet commandant’s office in Ahar, the center of Karadag.

Regarding this question and a number of other questions, we requested Cde. Russov to come to Tabriz. We will report the results to you.

Government circles and reactionary officials in Azerbaijan, led by General Drakhshani, have not limited themselves to organizing repressive measures [but] are carrying out intensified organizational and political work. In recent days a reinforcement of the gendarmerie has been observed [and] a transfer of military personnel in civilian clothing from Tehran, etc. For example, in the area of Usku the number of gendarmes was increased from 10 to 45 under the pretext of a guard force for a newly-created bank and other state institutions.

  

On the night of the 30th in a conversation with us Pishevari expressed a certain fear of a factional struggle in the Party. Right-wing elements, evidently in the sprit of incomplete agreement with the program requirements of the Party, or exceptionally conservatively inclined by their nature – can in no way agree with the actions of the majority of the Party CC in public statements. They speak out for more “moderate” [and] “careful actions”. It is dangerous that in almost all conflicts of peasants with landowners these elements try to justify even repressive measures against the peasants. We have agreed with Pishevari to conduct patient, composed, and exceptionally sensitive work to consolidate [their] forces and create cohesion [monolitnost’] in the Party CC. All measures will be taken in order to prohibit any serious differences of views on basic program questions.

Regularly published newspapers [are]: “Azerbaijan”, “Khaverno”, [and] “Sitareyi Azerbaijan” in Tabriz and “Dzhovdet” in Ardebil’ [SIC, spelling is different from Ardabil’ above]. Soon we will send an expert [master] to Mekhabad to set up a printing press and put out a paper in the Kurdish language. It has been agreed with Pishevari to publish a 4th newspaper in Tabriz for the peasantry [called] “Ehkinchi”.

A Conference was convened on 29 October in the Soviet consulate with the participation of comrades from the House of Culture and the VOKS [All-Union Society for Cultural Relations] regarding the question of creating a Society of Friends of Soviet Azerbaijan. After detailed discussion, Cde. Sharifov and Bagir-Zade were entrusted to conduct appropriate work to create this Society within 10 days. Mr. Khariri (a merchant [and] member of the Tabriz Branch of the Society for Cultural Relations of Iran with Soviet Azerbaijan) is being appointed [its] Chairman.

In fulfillment of your order, we created a commission to review the press consisting of Cdes. Riza Kuliyev, Dzhafar Dzhafarov, Guseyn Sharifov, Avaz Sadykhov, [and] Gulam Mamedli. The commission is enlisting a local journalist in its work, Abassi Mamedlu.

Pishevari entrusted Ibragim (F)riduni and Giyami with creating a history of Southern Azerbaijan and collecting all the materials on this question. [Translator’s note: the first letter of Friduni’s name is uncertain due to a faded copy at this point.]

At the same time we have sent the well-known work of Nadir Mirza for translation. [It is] a history and geography of Tabriz, written over 100 years ago in Persian.

We are sending you 3 training aids in Azerbaijani for the 1st grade, published in Tabriz in 1893, 1914, and 1921, and also excerpts from the Iranian press about the democratic movement in Azerbaijan.

The mobile film units [kinoperedvizhki] have arrived. We are sending one of them in the direction of Ardebil’, Sarab, [and] Mianeh, [and] the others to Marand, Khoy, Urmia, etc.

We request your orders:

1) to accelerate the dispatch of 8 comrades selected to work in our specialty [po nashey linii];

2) to ensure the departure of a producer, artist, and composer for work in the House of Culture;

3) to allocate an appropriate amount of fuel for our vehicles, since the Tabriz Corps is in no condition to supply us; and

4) to give an order to Cde. Kuliyev to process Dzhafar Dzhafarov, who is in Tabriz, and send [him] to us to use in our specialty.

Attachment: Three training aids in the Azerbaijani language and 4 pages of excerpts.

Sent in 2 copies (Mirza Ibragimov)

Copy No 1 – M. D. Bagirov

Copy No 2 – to the Special Department

31 October 1945

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