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August 21, 1953

Message to N.S. Khrushchev from Secretary of the CC of the CP of Azerbaijan T.A. Yakubov on Work with the Azerbaijani Democrats

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation



to Cde. Khrushchev, N. S.


[Subject:] Regarding work with the Azerbaijani democrats


We consider it necessary to inform the CC CPSU about the status of work among the political immigrants – the Azerbaijani democrats who have arrived in our Republic from Southern (Iranian) Azerbaijan.


In connection with the victory of the Soviet Union in the Great Patriotic War a powerful enthusiasm for a national liberation and democratic movement began in Iranian Azerbaijan. More than 5.5 million Azerbaijanis live in Iranian Azerbaijan, who by their language, traditions, and national characteristics are drastically different from the Persians.


In the course of the struggle for their national liberation, in August1945 the workers of the cities and villages of Southern Azerbaijan organized the Democratic Party under whose leadership an autonomous democratic government was created within Iran in December of that year. This government made a number of political, social, and other reforms directed at the improvement of the position of the working people [and] introduced the Azerbaijani language into the schools and state institutions, which had been prohibited by the Iranian government.


At the same time the Iranian government headed by Kavam-es-Saltane was forced to recognize the democratic government of Southern Azerbaijan. However, in December of 1946, on order of the Anglo-American imperialists, Kavam-es-Saltane treacherously violated an agreement with the democratic government, introduced Iranian troops into Southern Azerbaijan, and began savage reprisals against the leadership of the Democratic Party and all participants of the democratic movement.


In order to preserve the main nucleus of the democratic movement the CC of the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan requested refuge for them on the territory of the Soviet Union. By order of the CC CPSU they were accepted, settled in Soviet Azerbaijan, and work was found for them in collective farms, state farms, in industrial enterprises, cultural and educational, and other institutions of the Republic.


At the present time 8,970 democrats live in the Azerbaijan SSR; 6,912 of them emigrated in December of 1945. The remaining 2,058 crossed the border illegally in recent years, both singly and in groups. Among the democrats 2,952 of them are members of the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan.


At the end of 1947, with the permission of the CC CPSU, a Committee was created in Baku of 12 leading figures of the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan in order to conduct political and organizational work among the democrats.


By decision of the CC CPSU the Committee was permitted to have its own press organ – the newspaper “Azerbaijan”, which began twice-weekly publication on 2 December 1947 in the Azerbaijani and Kurdish languages in the Arabic alphabet in half the size [format] of “Pravda” and with a press run of 2500 copies. The newspaper “Azerbaijan” has been distributed only among the democrats living in our Republic. The most important articles of the Soviet press, the situation in the Middle and Near East, events in Iran, and especially in Iranian Azerbaijan are reprinted in its pages. Also published are reworked [pererabotannyye] materials in progressive Iranian newspapers and the literary works of democratic poets and writers living in Soviet Azerbaijan. The newspaper “Azerbaijan” has played an important role in the ideological and political education of Azerbaijani democrats and in training a cadre of journalists, writers, and poets from among them.


It ought to be noted that an overwhelming majority of Azerbaijani democrats working on collective farms, state farms, and industrial enterprises of the Republic work honestly and conscientiously. Many of them display samples of their work and fulfill and overfulfill production tasks. With the permission of the CC CPSU, democrats who have especially distinguished themselves have been presented Soviet orders and medals. At the present time 69 democrats have been awarded Soviet orders and medals and three of them have been awarded the title Hero of Socialist Labor for achieving bumper crop harvests.


Many democrats have acquired families while living and working in Soviet Azerbaijan.


Much work is being done to train politically educated party cadre and middle- and highly-skilled specialists among the democrats. During their residence in the Azerbaijan SSR, with the permission of the CC CPSU, 136 democrats have graduated from a special department [fakul’tet] of the Azerbaijan CP CC Republic Party School; ninety-seven of them have been educated in a special 4-year program.


One hundred and six have received higher education at a university, [and in] medical, industrial, pedagogical, agricultural institutions, and other higher educational institutions of the Republic.  Three hundred and twenty-two have graduated mid-level special educational institutions.


Those who have graduated higher and mid-level institutions are successfully working at industrial enterprises, collective farms, state farms, and cultural and educational institutions of the Republic.  Many of the trained cadre among them are capable of performing responsible assignments in any situation.


At the present time 242 democrats are studying in the Republic Party School, higher educational institutions, and technical schools of the Republic. Moreover, 44 are interns, graduate students, or doctoral candidates at higher educational institutions and scientific research institutes.


Special attention is paid to the study by the democrats of the Russian language. Many of the democrats who have graduated higher educational institutions and the Party School are fluent in Russian and give lectures and reports in Russian.


The Azerbaijan Democratic Party Committee, with the active participation of local Party and Soviet organizations of the Republic, are carrying out work to eliminate illiteracy and functional illiteracy among the democrats. In local settlements of democrats night schools have been opened to eliminate illiteracy and functional illiteracy.


At the same time it is necessary to note that in the political educational work being conducted by the Azerbaijan Democratic Party Committee among democrats there are substantial shortcomings and a number of measures have been taken to eliminate them. In particular, the leadership of the Committee and peripheral organizations of the Azerbaijan Democratic Party has been strengthened with mature, competent, politically educated, and promising cadre, mainly from among those who have graduated the Republic Party School.


At the present time the Azerbaijan Democratic Party Committee consists of 15 members. The Auditing Commission has 5 members. A Bureau of 5 Committee members has been created to exercise daily supervision and manage routine work.


The work of the CC of the Azerbaijan CP with the democrats and practical aid to the Azerbaijan Democratic Party Committee is being done through a special commission of 3 members of the Azerbaijan CP CC Bureau. A special worker has been selected in the Azerbaijan CP CC staff to provide daily ties with the leadership of the Azerbaijan Democratic Party and the resolution of routine questions.


It needs to be noted that the Azerbaijan Democratic Party Committee has no communication with existing underground democratic parties or the People’s Party of Iran. All of their work in Iran began in November of 1947, consisting of daily radio broadcasts via a special illegal radio station whose activity ceased on 2 August 1953 in accordance with a decision of the CC CPSU Presidium of 31 July 1953.


The Azerbaijan Democratic Party Committee also has no ties with the leadership of the People’s Party of Iran now located in Moscow. In the opinion of the leadership of the Azerbaijan Democratic Party close ties and shared information could be of some use.


Further work among democrats will be directed at improving their political education and training qualified Party cadre and specialists for various economic and cultural fields.


We consider it also necessary to report that, with the permission of the CC CPSU, the shooting of the “On the Banks of the Araks” documentary film was begun in 1953, in connection with the mass border crossings of refugees from Iran and in order that the serious condition of the refugees and their finding of employment in Soviet Azerbaijan be documented. According to plan, this film should be completed by the end of this year.


Secretary of the CC of

the CP of Azerbaijan Yakubov, T. A.


21 August 1953

No 348SS [Translator’s note: The “ss” indicates that this document was classified “Top Secret”, although not so noted in this copy; it may have been attached or forwarded with the previous document with which it shares an author and an approximate date]




Attested: S. Khya[illegible]/Khalykova


Letter from N.S. Khrushchev to T.A. Yakubov regarding the Azerbaijani democrats and their living conditions. It recommends the filming of of the “On the Banks of the Araks” documentary film be allowed to continue in order that the serious condition of the refugees and their finding of employment in Soviet Azerbaijan be documented


Document Information


GAPPOD, f. 1, s. 89, i. 187. Obtained for CWIHP by Jamil Hasanli and translated for CWIHP by Gary Goldberg.


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