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Soviet national policy in Azerbaijan. Strengthening of administrative-authoritarian system

Administrative-territorial changes, realized in the years of Soviet authority in Azerbaijan possessed political essence much more than aimed to the creation of structures, which were able to provide economic and cultural development of the Republic. The policy of Azerbaijan Republic was encouraged and directed by the historical enemies of Azerbaijan nation-Armenian dashnaks, who had hidden behind of communist-bolsheviks. The one of the figures of “Dashnaksutyun” party and Dashnak government, Kazachnuni wrote in April of 1923, that “it is important to remember Bolsheviks-Armenians are our successors, they should continue our work and they are doing it. They implement it without depending on they understand or want it”.

The territory of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, constituted 114 thousand square kilometres, essentially reduced in the years of the establishement of Soviet authority in Azerbaijan at the result of activites of local and regional party and state leaders, especially because of giving the territories of Nakhichevan ASSR to Armenia. For example, during the examination of disputable issues about the utilization of lands and forests in several regions of TSFSR, the villages of Qurdqulaq, Khachig, Horadiz of Sharur region , the villages of Okhbin, Aghkhach, Almali, Itqiran, Sultanbeyi of Shabuz region, the village of Qorchevan and a part of the village of Kilid of Ordubad region of Nakhichevan ASSR, as well as 4572 hectars of wood massives of Kazakh were given to the structure of Armenia SSR by the decision of Transcaucasian CEC. At the result of giving such big settlements as Aldere, Lekhvaz, Asravuz, Nuvedi and other territories to Armenia in 1930, there was created current Mergi region of Armenia, which separated major territory of Azerbaijan Republic from Nakhichevan region. So, the territory of Nakhichevan ASSR, which consisted of 5988 square kilometres in 1926, reduced to 5329,4 square kilometres after the annexion of 658,4 square kilometres, i.e. 10% of its territory.

There occurred big changes in the quantity and national structure, as well as social structure of Azerbaijan SSR at the result of the construction of new socialistic communities, strict political and economic innovations.

In the period between 1926-1939s, the population of the Republic increased from 2312,7 thousand people to 3205,1 thousand ones, i.e. the increasement constituted 891,4 thousand people. Although, Azerbaijan in the examined was in the line of countries with high and natural increasement of population, the basics of the mentioned growth was constituted by the immigration of the representatives of other peoples from Union Republics-especially Russians; despite of the increasement of origanal population in the Republic, their number decreased from 63,5% to 58,4%, but the size of Russians increased from 9,5% to 16,5.

Especially, the growth of the number of urban population was much more intensive, the reason of which became the policy of industrialization and re-construction of national husbandry in Azerbaijan. So, if during 1926-1936s, the general number of population in the Republic increased to 38,7%, then the growth of the population in cities and towns consisted of 78,7%; if in 1926, the urban population constituted 28% of all population, then in 1936, already 36%. The growth of urban population did not occur only because of industrialization and growth of big cities of Azerbaijan, but also because of the increasement of the number of cities-from 18, in 1926 to 25 in 1939. Such social-demographic processes and changes in the numbers and structures of Azerbaijan pursued in the sample of Baku-the centre of political, economic and cultural life of Azerbaijan.

In 1926, the population of Baku increased to 36%, in the comparision with 1913, and constituted 453,3 thousand people. In 1926, there lived 63% of urban population of the Republic, which exceded the number of such cities of TSFSR as Tiflis, Iravan and Batum. The rational growth of the population of Baku continued later as well-in 1939, this number reached to 791,2 thousand people. Baku was the third city with its number of population after Moscow and Leningrad in former union at that time.

Baku differed from other industrial centres of Soviet empire with rapid growth of number of its population, its structure, with its geographic circumstance, economic and political essence. At the result of great Russian shovinistic policy there occurred changes in the structure of the population for the increasement of number and role of Russians, Armenian and representatives of other nations in socio- economic and socio-political life of Baku. It is enough to mention that even in 1913, the Azerbaijanis (together with the people, came from Southern Azerbaijan) constituted only 35,3% of the population in Baku and in its industrial-plant regions. Such tendency continued to be preserved during Soviet authority: so, if from 1926 to 1936, the size of Azerbaijanis decreased from 30,5% to 30,4%, the size of other nations from 34,3% to 20,4%, then the number of Russians grew from 35,2% to 44,4% in Baku; this fact could be explained by the aimed national policy about the withdrawal of original population from socio-political life, russification of all spheres of activity, especially in the capital of the Republic, which began to be realized since the first years of Soviet authority.

About Ismayil bey Zardabli

Author of t extbook for the higher educational institutions "THE HISTORY OF AZERBAIJAN, from ancient times to the present day"