Permanent Mission to the United Nations


866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 560, New York, NY 10017 / Tel. (212) 3712559 / Fax (212) 3712784


No. 02-99 PRESS-RELEASE 22 March 1999


March of 1918: Massacre by Armenians in Azerbaijan

Seventy one years ago, on 18 March 1918 the Armenians commited massacre in Azerbaijan.


Taking advantage of the situation following the end of the World War I and the February and October 1917 revolutions in Russia, the Armenians began to pursue the implementation of their plans to create "greater Armenia" under the banner of Bolshevism.


In November 1917, the Bolsheviks Commune headed by S.Shaumyan of Armenian nationality, took power in Baku. Under the watchword of allegedly "combating counter-revolutionary elements", in March of 1918 the Commune began to implement a criminal plan aimed at eliminating Azerbaijanis from the whole Baku district. Solely because of their ethnic affiliation, thousands of peaceful Azerbaijanis were slaughtered. The Armenians set fire to homes and burned people alive. They destroyed national architectural treasures, schools, hospitals, mosques and other facilities and left the greater part of Baku in ruins.

The genocide of the Azerbaijanis was carried out with particular cruelty in the Baku, Shemakha and Guba districts and in the Karabakh, Zangezur, Nakhichevan, Lenkoran and other regions of Azerbaijan. In these areas, the civilian population was exterminated en masse, villages were burned and national cultural monuments were destroyed and obliterated.

After the proclamation of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic (ADR) on 28 May 1918, the March Massacre was investigated into by the Government. In 1919 and 1920, the ADR observed 31 March as a national day of mourning. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the young country was assigned to inform the international community on the truth about the March events. This was the first attempt to make a political assessment of the policy of genocide against Azerbaijanis and of the occupation of the Azerbaijani lands for over a century. Following the demise of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic in 1920, the Soviet authorities trying to rewrite history kept back and falsified the truth about those tragic events.


Azerbaijan's attainment of independence in 1991 made it possible to recreate an objective picture of the historical past of the Azerbaijani people, particularly the March Massacre of 1918. Long years of secrecy about which the truth could not be told are being revealed, and the true nature of facts that were falsified at the time is coming to light.


In 1998, in commemoration of all tragic acts of genocide perpetrated against the Azerbaijani people the day of 31 March was proclaimed the Day of Genocide of the Azerbaijanis by a Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.