Known to few, Armenians participated in Azerbaijani state building. To name, Arshak Arutyunovich Paronian, Ervan Fadeevich Taghionosian, Isaac Nikitich Hojaev, Stephen Sergeevich Taghionosian, George D. Shahnazarov, Arshak Hovhannesovich Malkhazyan, Khoren Miklailovich Amaspur, Poghos Khachaturovich Jubarian, Abgar Ivanovich Papian, Alexander Mikhailovich Ter-Azeryan and Bogdan Kahramanovich Balayants were members of parliament. Khoren Amaspur and Abram Dastakian served as ministers of Azerbaijan, latter’s granddaughter’s interview may be found here. However, Arshak Malkhazyan is more interesting to me, as he was heading Baku faction of Dashnaksutyun.

So, what do we know about him? Biographically nothing. Azerbaijani sources give one certain Arshak Malkhazyan who was a partner of a rich Azerbaijani called Khalil beg Gasimbekov who funded together a hydroelectric power station for Yerevan in 1909. Was he same person? I don’t know. What I know is this certain Arshak Malkhazyan was a member of parliament in Azerbaijan. His former office is now occupied by Azerbaijan State News Agency (AZERTAC). I will try to translate some of his statements in Azerbaijani parliament.

 

47686122 2308548225824645 3260741086678614016 o1 - A Dashnak in Azerbaijani Parliament - Arshak Malkhazyan
25 February 1919

On behalf of Ganja and Baku Armenian National Committee members we congratulate Turkish nation who now possess self-determination in person of you – members of parliament. We sincerely decided to join parliament in order to serve Turkish nation and other nations who live in Republic of Azerbaijan. (Huge applauds) In order to achieve this goal, we think it is mandatory to be every citizen in Azerbaijan to be held responsible before law.

 

We think this equality before law may only be achieved after every ethnicity in Azerbaijan to be given self-determination choice in national and cultural affairs just like the Turkish. We will fight inside and outside against any type of autonomy, warlordism and thievery. These type of wishes are against democratic, legal state and is a danger for the Republic. We sincerely believe there will be no peace, neither calm unless nations of Transcaucasia – let people live in outside of republics, or inside of them – work together. Without peace, there would be no welfare state.  Every government should work for that cause. Therefore we will try to forge unity and equality through law and justice between Transcaucasian nations. Because if there is no law to prevail, Transcaucasia will always be an international war scene. Moreover, we will fight against any ethnicity’s struggle for majority and defend rights of minorities.

 

As we are against violent foreign politics, we will strive to make peace between Azerbaijani government and neighbouring nations on disputed matters. We consider Karabakh problem as one of these disputed matters. (Calls from central chamber: It’s not disputed! Mammad Amin: It’s a solved case!) As Armenian government also claims a right to rule these territories. We believe Azerbaijani government can solve this issue in peace as did with all other problems. In general, we will cling to ideals brought liberty with global democracy. We are on the side of worker population and support Constitution which will provide economic and cultural boost to Republic of Azerbaijan. We will strive to establish real popular government and equal distribution of lands among workers and farmers. We think this is parliament is a temporary institution; however we will work for free parliament that will be free of foreign intervention. So, this is it effendis, we will uphold these values. Finally, we’d like to add that, we, the Armenian members of parliament, feel same responsibility to the Azerbaijani Parliament as if it is Parliament of Armenian Republic. (Huge applause)

 

Aftermath

Arshak Malkhazyan was appointed to the Committee of Agrarian reforms and Committee of Constitution (along with Stanislaus Vansovich, Basil Kuzhim – Polish MPs and other Azeri MPs) same day. He later worked with Ministry of Interior and suggested to set up a central General Postal Agency.

3 April 1919

Arshak Malkhazyan makes a speech about how government should pay more wages to employees of Ministry of Interior as they doing the hardest job – stabilizing a war torn country; urges government to step in regions where people do not accept central authority yet. In his opinion, Azerbaijanis are not ready to accept their neighbours as equals yet, therefore Azerbaijani government should take harsh steps against criminals inciting ethnic hatred. He presents an evidence for his claims:

“On 18 January, Alat station, 5 Armenians – 2 men, 2 women and a girl viciously murdered in wagoon №21. Although there was a decision to court martial the criminals, nothing came out of it yet.

On 29 January, a group of people going towards Yevlakh station were killed by anonymous men.

On night of 2 February, 23 Armenians were beaten by police on their way to Tbilisi only to be saved by some certain Asad agha.

On 1 February, 30 Armenians were stripped naked by 4 local gunmen on their way to Shamakhi villages from Kurdamir station, only to be surrounded by soldiers and militia after 1 km. 20 people dead, 10 survived.

On 4 February policemen arrested 40 Armenians in postal station, kept them in prison for 3 days and insulted them.

On 21, 23 and 24 February Armenian passengers were robbed by a gang on their way to Baku from Hajigabul station.

In Ganja, a group of anonymous people are preaching and inciting people to commit a massacre against Armenians. According to a Muslim informant Armenian civilians are being kept in prisons in remote villages. ”

He goes on to bring more news from injustice and prejudice against Armenians, also reports that those gangs are harassing Muslims too, which should be enough reason for government to step up and take action. He praises Samad bey Mehmandarov – Minister of Army – who protects Armenian citizens against gang and mob rule, while criticized Ministry of Interior because his lack of attention.

6 May 1919

Nesib bey Yusifbeyli talks about strikes by bolsheviks. Accuses them to be agents of Soviet Russia who can’t accept Azerbaijan’s independence. Malkhazyan makes a speech praising Nesib bey Yusifbeyli’s efforts of establishing law and order through the country. Malkhazyan supports Azerbaijani government in order to prevent certain groups who wants to start a civil war. He calls for peaceful resolution with Muslim strikers and workers, to show that their protector is not only Soviets but local government.

15 May 1919

Malkhazyan is readmitted to Parliament being selected from Armenian population of Ganja alongside Khoren Amaspur, Ter-Azerian and Hojaian.

29 May 1919

Malkhazyan makes a speech in parliament in Russian, defends the idea that deaf-mute people can vote or get elected to an office.

28 May 1919

Malkhazyan makes a speech on occasion of 1st year of Republic:

Dear members of Parliament! A whole year has passed, since then the Caucasian peoples – as expressed in the words of the poet “in the struggle of straining forces” – are in love with the consciousness of their independence, the consciousness of their freedom. A year has passed when, after the huge, bloody sacrifices made by the Russian revolution, which at the same time gave high, beautiful slogans of both national self-determination, freedom and national independence, we are celebrating the anniversary of the independence of Azerbaijan here in a solemn atmosphere. A year has passed (perhaps even more years will pass) in an agonizing struggle; a year when it seemed that all sharp corners were erased, only to discover many more sharp corners remained, for which we still have to fight, but with one consciousness, with one idea inspired by one great feeling – a great consciousness of freedom, independence and equality of those Caucasian democracies that created their own existence, their own states! We are entering this second year of our independent existence, a year that will be a year of creative work. We are entering this second year of our independent existence – a year that will be a year of creative work and for this second year, a more solid stone will be laid for future independence, strong, stable in our aspirations. For this new year we can express the most wonderful, most sincere, our very best wishes. We can say that things that happened, those hard lessons of the past, sometimes hard mistakes, led to one consciousness, one idea – that we will strive to create our own culture, create our own nationality, our own future without resorting to some alien power. Then, guided by the consciousness of our own culture and our own state, we will conduct constructive work. Only then we can say that we left the difficult years of the Azerbaijani nation-building behind, the heavy sacrifices those the people paid to give independence to the Caucasian nations were not in vain. For this consciousness of our rise, for the national culture, for national self-determination, we will have to fight every single thing. (Applauses)

16 June 1919

Malkhazyan asks Minister of Interior – Nasib bey Yusifbeyli about a police raid happened on 11 June 1919 to a warehouse belonging to Armenian church, located in Surakhani street, 279 (now Dilara Aliyeva). According to newspaper “Azerbaijan” the raid found 1 Telegraph machine, 3 Telephones,  5 boxes cartridges. Malkhazyan mainly questions the method of search, which was without warrant and proclaims religious feelings of Armenian community are insulted. Yusifbeyli defends the raid, saying that police have found illegal weapons on warehouse of the church and he considers Armenian church to be violated, since it is no place for guns. Warehouse was located next to Armenian neighborhood of Baku, but there were no signs about to whom it belongs to. Yusifbeyli says there was an informant who told about the warehouse to police and he does not consider himself to transgress religious feelings of Armenians, on the contrary, the criminals are transgressors since they are using a church as a warehouse where they are keeping papers and letters from Denikin, Kichik khan and Bichekharov. However, he says police chief [Quda Qudiyev (1880-1920) – Ethnic Ingush polizeimeister] and his staff [Saltzman] acted independently of his knowledge and he did not know that it was a church.

Malkhazyan protests that raid was without order from government, minister admits it and says however, there is an evidence of crime. Moreover he defends himself saying he ordered police afterwards to not touch sanctioned parts of church. He defends the police force, saying there is an active treachery going on as many guns and weapons were found around city; so it was normal for them to act in haste. He presents official Armenian government’s list of belongings which do not include telegraph and telephones. As far he was concerned, their warehouse was used as hiding spot by White Russia sympathizers.

23 June 1919

Babayan addresses to Parliament:

I will not repeat everything that was explained by Member of Parliament Malkhazian at the meeting earlier, when this request was discussed in the form of a question, I will only dwell on the purely legal aspects of this incident, those moments that constitute a violation of the laws and illegal actions of administrative officials, who work for the Ministry of Internal Affairs. First of all, no search warrant was filed during the search – the Minister of Internal Affairs acknowledged this fact as a violation of the rules that could not be considered as legitimate actions in any way. If this procedure is left as it is, then it means any of us may be subjected to a search by any police officer, at the discretion of that police officer. It is the right of citizens that if anyone conducts a search, s/he should submit a specific order of a person authorized by law to conduct such a search and only in this case they have to make a search. The second violation is that when a church was searched in a church building, they not only entered open spaces, but broke open locks in closed premises in the absence of those who were in charge of these premises. For example, cellar doors belonging to the Armenian Humanitarian society were hacked, where, in addition to coal and firewood, nothing seems to have been found, just as these searches in general produced no results. But the police had to call those people who are in charge of these premises at the same time and only in their presence they had to open the closed premises. You, the Members of Parliament, probably remember the cases of the pre-revolutionary period, when the gendarmerie more than once, made searches in the absence of people. If these people were politically undesirable, all sorts of proclamations and anti-government documents ‘were found’, and then on the basis of these ‘documents’ these people were being arrested. I remember even, there were cases when bombs, explosive shells were ‘found’. We have to be sure that the police can be trusted and the citizens have to be convinced that nothing like this can happen again. It is necessary to perform any search of a closed room in the presence of the person to whom the room belongs, unless, of course, if this person is in absence; then there should be presence of witnesses, etc. This is the second violation, which also cannot be considered legitimate. I will no longer talk about the method of conducting a search, which was applied on June 11, when a group of 100 or 150 men (Malkhazian spoke about this on our behalf) with guns surrounded the church and for a long time kept the whole mass in a tense state – the huge crowd of people were gathered at this church. Some provocative rumors were thus spread into the crowd, all these are known from the newspapers and from the explanations those were given. It was said that a mass of shells, a weapon, a machine gun, and even a cannon were found. All these can cause very sad consequences, but, fortunately, the matter was limited only to the fact that two or three Armenians detained here near the church, however, were beaten painfully.

Another circumstance that I would like to draw the attention of the Parliament – Despite the fact that the search in the church building did not give any positive results, nevertheless, the guard was placed near this church and they are standing there for two days now. The guard, who was put there did not let anyone to meet the diocesan leader Bishop Bagrat who lives there. Not even his nephew, who also lives there, was forced to spend the night somewhere with friends, as the guard did not let him where he lives. So, in fact, it turns out that Bishop Bagrat was arrested. Since no one was let inside or outside, this is essentially nothing more than an arrest. By submitting a request, we have only one wish, to make the searches carried out with strict observance of the law, regardless which citizen or what group of citizens they may be. We want to ensure that any illegal actions of the authorities are punishable by law, and not by the administrative discretion of the authorities. We want every lawbreaker to be accountable before the law for his illegal actions.

Aftermath

Malkhazyan says police shoud have waited for church members to arrive, they would hand over letters to them personally. Which causes Musavatist Rza bey Agabeyzadeh to accuse Malkhazyan to be dishonest: “If you knew there were papers, why didn’t you hand over them at first? Why wait for an order? How would we know?” He later attacks Malkhazyan’s wish that someday Azerbaijan will treat all minorities fairly by showing other minority members of Parliament as an example of multiculturalism. Malkhazyan was further attacked by Mustafa Mahmudov – another Musavatist and a former member of Duma. Mahmudov claims Malkhazyan is just being histrionic, gives examples of stable Shamakhi region churches and destroyed mosques. He accuses Armenians of being disrespectful. He further states that he would believe that accusations of church was being used as base are false if it was not Saint Gregory church in Baku, notes that “if you have to pass on front of that church, you have to carry a gun”. However, Parliament Speaker tries to correct him, noting raid was not in church, but a warehouse. Mahmudov replies “ok, warehouse then! But they found 60 cartridges!”, Speaker again corrects him, saying cartridges were found in Surakhanski street, away from church.

Members of Armenian fraction asks what if guns were stored in mosque, would government still raid it? Later Jubarian and Toghionosov both speak in defence of Malkhazyan, however in different ways. Jubarian says order is just a formality and wonders if raid was politically motivated. Jubarian defends his position saying it’s a matter for all Azerbaijani citizen’s rights, not only Armenians. While Toghionosov says government has the authority to search any place at will, but problem is method, it should be with limits of law. Toghionosov also expresses he has a little feeling that this raid was also done due to their ethnicity. Toghionosov’s speech is regularly cut by noises, people shout “it happens everywhere!”, “also in Yerevan!”, “we did more than Armenia!” Toghionosov answers last sentence that what he says is whataboutism and makes a joke referring to a Russian anecdote, people laugh. According to him, if he was in Armenia, he would stand up for Muslims as well.

Jubarian asked government assurance to not commit searches any more, while Mustafa Vakilov – another Musavatist, who would go on to be next Minister of Interior – advised him to obey law, as there are no any other authority than government. Resolution draft by Armenian fraction gets rejected.

14 July 1919

Parliament discussed about giving aid to Zangezur and Nakhchivan muslims. Malkhazyan quotes Alexander Khatisian MFA of Armenia that Muslims in Armenia fare well better than Armenians in Azerbaijan. Quote is met with doubts as there were credible sources reporting that Armenian government only gives aid to Armenian citizens, but not Muslims.

27 July 1919

Malkhazyan criticizes Members of Parliament of lameness, not attending commissions. Accusing another members to be have no opinion of their own and populist. He also proposes Parliament to gather at 11 am, because after 9 pm everyone is sleepy and don’t want to work: An example of that: the two bills were being read right now, no one listened attentively to them, and it was not possible to listen. I stand for the morning sessions. Why? Because in the morning we are fresher, stronger.

29 July 1919

Polish MP Stanislaus Vonsowitz proposes to allow foreigners to elect Mayor of Baku, since they came for work to Baku and have been living here for years, they know city better than anyone. He defends his position by citing atrocities committed by Baku Commune and Centrocaspian dictatorship. However, Malkhazyan makes a speech against amendment, says it’s totally unacceptable. He proposes to give the right to all and foreign nationals – both active and passive, as apposed to Vonsowitz, who offers only passive right. Jewish MP Moses Guchman supports amendment, giving example of Jews in New York who are not American citizens yet, but have right to elect a city council. Asks “what if Russian subjects in Azerbaijan don’t want to be citizens, will we force them?” However, he admits that for Jews this is pretty easy to decide, they are not numerous like Poles, Russians or Ukrainians. Azerbaijani MPs oppose and defend the position that only citizens should have rights to vote.

25 August 1919

Members of Parliament discuss about teachers’ wages. Malkhazyan finds 8000 rubles for a professor very modest, however per him, wages should be higher for medical faculty teachers.

1 September 1919

Members of Parliament discuss about state scholarships for students who are going abroad. “Ahrar” fraction propose to appoint supervisors to watch over these students as they will be exposed to different cultures and may bring dangerous ideas back to state. Malkhazyan finds this propose expensive and a comedy and proposes instead to interview students and draw a criterion about who are going to be sent. However, Ahrar’s proposition is accepted. Their second proposition – only fund students to pursue Literature, Maths and Science is not accepted. Malkhazyan is also against Parliament commissions to select students, he says it should be up to Ministry of Education to determine who to go. Moreover, he is against state sponsorship of rich citizens’ kids, claiming they have enough funds to travel by themselves. “Ittihad” fraction proposes a mandatory 2 year serve for students in governmental institutions after graduation from university. Malkhazyan finds the law amendment fragile, because there is no indication who will determine where the student shall serve: What to do if student does not want to work in rural areas, but only in Baku? He further proposes mandatory work years to be 4, instead of 2. His proposal accepted.

18 September 1919

Members of Parliament discuss about Baku State University. Some members propose to appoint rector on state order, while socialists say this is meddling with university’s internal affairs. Professors should choose their own rector. Socialists also propose student union delegates to attend meeting of professors – Malkhazyan and Rasulzadeh are against the proposal.

20 September 1919

MP Agabeyov reminds of theater tax which was introduced as a tax on theater and other types of entertainment in 1892. Tax money were spent on Red Cross and other charities. He proposes the former tax money to be redirected to Ministry of Taxes. Malkhazyan is against theater taxes, since it makes ticket prices to rise. Aliheydar Garayev says tax is undemocratic, because it makes theater only available for bourgeoisie since poor won’t be able to pay for tickets.

Socialist MP Haji Karim Saniyev proposes a ban on alcohol, since this is what Shariah commands. Malkhazyan opposes the ban, reminds MPs that winemaking industry is profitable business for Azerbaijan, since it is famous abroad. He also reminds that most of these lands belong to Muslims, depriving them of this profit would devastate economy. Aliheydar Garayev says there should be limited number of wine-houses, as alcoholism gives nothing to democracy, on contrary, drunk man beats his wife. Saniyev defends his position on grounds of morality. Malkhazyan instead proposes a state monopoly on alcohol trade, as it is in Scandinavian countries. He argues in favor of removal of taxation on winemaking industry.

MP Agabeyov reminds the Parliament that Azerbaijan does not only consist of muslims, they should respect needs of minorities’ as well. He also reminds Malkhazyan that Parliament discusses tax on alcohol, not only wine. Alcohol tax proposal not accepted.

27 September 1919

Malkhazyan proposes a rise in Judge salaries as much as 50%, saying judges should be paid in high wages in order to fight corruption and bribes. He is supported by Azerbaijani MPs Sultan Majid Ganizade and Agha Ashurov, but they find 50% a bit much. He also proposes salary rise for senior notaries. Both of his proposes pass.

29 September 1919

Malkhazyan says state should sell fish in exchange of gold. Rasulzadeh ridicules him as there is no nation to pay golds for fish.

6 November 1919

Parliament discusses Entertainment tax again. MP Agabeyov brings up the issue that some citizens complain tax is not fair, because not every theater has the same attendance frequency. Malkhazyan compares the theater business in Georgia and Azerbaijan. While in Georgia the first row is 50 rubles and the lodges are 150 rubles in the state theater, in Azerbaijan, the first place is 125 rubles and the lodges are 500-600 rubles. He explains this circumstance by the attitude of the state to theatrical business. He finds the bill passed by the Council of Ministers insufficient and proposes to adopt a bill on the complete abolition of theatrical tax. Socialist MP Samad bay Agamalioglu compares tax to English system. Because in Britain, you are going to pay taxes if you are dead, because you have get a death sertificate from a notary. He supports abolishment of tax. Agabeyov says socialists are worshiping Georgia like Mecca. Musavat MP Hajinski offers to lower the tax, but not abolish it.

24 November 1919

Parliament discusses free trade. Malkhazyan explains the financial crisis of the government with two main reasons:

  1. The common cause for all states (both small and large) is the great upheaval caused by the world’s greatest war
  2. The financial policy of the government. In his opinion, the financial policy of state should consist the desire to halt the rapid depreciation of the ruble exchange rate, which is not noticed in this case. He proves by examples that in order to raise the exchange rate of the ruble it is necessary to strive for the free export of raw materials abroad. Only in this way can the ruble exchange rate be raised, and not by the continuous indirect imposition of essential items, which can only cause high prices and from which only the underprivileged class will suffer. Finishing his speech, he adds that the task of the Ministry of Finance is not only to infinitely increase taxes and issue such large emissions that could lead the country to disaster, but to develop the industry, give it a way out and raise the value of the ruble.

Malkhazyan’s free trade proposal is opposed by Musavat MPs. As they defend that state should have reserves. However, as moderate offer, they propose lowering other taxes. Rasulzadeh vehemently opposes Malkhazyan, claiming free trade will bring foreign bons.

27 November 1919

Parliament discusses free trade again. Malkhazyan explains that he is not a supporter of completely free trade and export of all the raw materials of Azerbaijan as they think, because leaving the local population without bread and fish is equivalent to death for democracy, it would enrich only speculators. He merely points out that it would be possible to export those goods that could give the country a big plus and would raise the ruble exchange rate. He completely agrees with the opinion of Ashurov, who pointed out that the Ministry of Trade and Industry has absolutely no industrial policy. In his opinion, the ministers of finance and trade and industry should have one coordinated plan of action, since the entire economic welfare of the country depends mainly on the activities of these ministries. They do not have this action plan. He points out once again that the business of the Ministry of Finance should not be only issues of money and tax payments, but raising the value of the ruble. And the Ministry of Commerce and Industry did not give any leading principles for the conduct of a common trade and industrial policy. Regarding the issue of law, he states that if the Ministry of Finance noticed a slowdown in the consideration of this draft law, then it should have appealed to Parliament with a protest or, in the process of introducing the draft, declare haste. After all, it knew that this question would cause a lot of debate about the financial and industrial policy of the government. At the end of his speech, he, pointing out that the Ministry of Finance ignored the rights of Parliament, proposes to adopt a bill reducing it by 100 rubles, in order to make the government feel that it is not possible for Parliament to authorize such operations.

1 December 1919

Parliament discusses free trade again. Malkhazyan explains that he is not a supporter of completely free trade and export of all the raw materials of Azerbaijan as they think, because leaving the local population without bread and fish is equivalent to death for democracy, it would enrich only speculators. He merely points out that it would be possible to export those goods that could give the country a big plus and would raise the ruble exchange rate. He completely agrees with the opinion of Ashurov, who pointed out that the Ministry of Trade and Industry has absolutely no industrial policy. In his opinion, the ministers of finance and trade and industry should have one coordinated plan of action, since the entire economic welfare of the country depends mainly on the activities of these ministries. They do not have this action plan. He points out once again that the business of the Ministry of Finance should not be only issues of money and tax payments, but raising the value of the ruble. And the Ministry of Commerce and Industry did not give any leading principles for the conduct of a common trade and industrial policy. Regarding the issue of law, he states that if the Ministry of Finance noticed a slowdown in the consideration of this draft law, then it should have appealed to Parliament with a protest or, in the process of introducing the draft, declare haste. After all, it knew that this question would cause a lot of debate about the financial and industrial policy of the government. At the end of his speech, he, pointing out that the Ministry of Finance ignored the rights of Parliament, proposes to adopt a bill reducing it by 100 rubles, in order to make the government feel that it is not possible for Parliament to authorize such operations.

11 December 1919

Parliament discusses free trade again, a new draft law proposed. However, MPs seems to have changed opinions, preferring free trade now. Malkhazyan, at the beginning of his speech, states that the draft law so pleased the members of Parliament, including himself, that they did not dwell on its main provisions and voted for his haste. Further, blaming the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Food both in high prices in general, and in particular of basic necessities, and in the fall of the ruble exchange rate, the speaker declares that the current bill, although it looks very insignificant, small, but conceals very large grounds. Law should have been accepted earlier. After a long speech, he states that although he has a positive attitude to the draft law in principle, he wants to hear here an exhaustive explanation of how to use all these riches: cotton, silk, etc.

Minister of Trade Aminov notes Malkhazyan’s orator skills, but reminds him of not everything is related to bad trade. As for the statement of Malkhazian about the impossibility of implementing and applying this draft law in life, the minister states that he is not particularly afraid, because there are no need for officials, they exist; for this, a special interdepartmental commission will be created.

15 December 1919

Two proposals of Member of Parliament Malkhazian are accepted:
1) The Parliament expresses the wish that the Ministry of Finance would promptly submit to the Parliament a draft law on the tax on the income of both commercial and industrial enterprises and private individuals engaged in commerce.
2) The Parliament expresses the wish that the Ministry of Finance would promptly introduce a bill to increase the subsistence minimum, which is not subject to taxation.

22 December 1919

Rasulzadeh talks about wording of declaration of 5th government and proposes skip to discussion. Malkhazyan objects Rasulzadeh, proposes to postpone the discussion of the declaration to the next regular meeting of the Parliament, since the announced declaration in the Turkic language remained incomprehensible to the national minorities.

Rasulzadeh answered: The government’s declaration was written in the same language I speak, and Malkhazyan, who understands me, should have understood the declaration as well. For this, you should not postpone the discussion to the next meeting. If ethnic minorities are unfamiliar with certain places of the declaration, then you can take a break for 10 minutes, during which they will become familiar with the declaration. 

Malkhazyan: I understand Mammed Emin, but it can not be said about our entire faction as well, which must express its attitude to the announced declaration. And I think that Parliament can not deprive those who did not understand the declaration of the opportunity to familiarize themselves with it in detail.

After second gathering, Malkhazyan speaks on behalf of Armenian faction, criticizes new government of not including Armenians. He mentions that they did not object to former government [which included two Dashnak ministers] because they saw this as Turkic people finally recognizing Armenians as their equals. However, new government declaration considers Armenians unlawful subjects:

Today, for the first time, the parliamentary faction of Armenians is compelled to make a statement that it cannot give its confidence to the present government. In order to avoid any misunderstandings, I must declare that I am speaking in this case for all Armenian deputies and not on behalf of my faction. We supported the previous cabinets, despite the fact that on several occasions our principals, our voters, gave us a number of reproaches. We looked at our representation as representation of class and were coalitioning with the relevant Turkic political parties depending on their leaning. From this point of view, we did not criticize the previous cabinet. Why? Because we believed that the dominant Turkic political thought now recognizes the Armenian population as their equals.

He further states that the announced declaration declares the Armenian population of Azerbaijan out of law and is surprised that such a declaration, together with the representative of “Ittihad”, was signed by the representative of socialists Aslan Bey Safikyurdsky, who demonstrated his chauvinism by this act.

“I remember very well,” he continues, “that the same Usubbekov, from the same department even during the formation of the previous cabinet, declared that the government would stand on the point of view of a peaceful resolution of controversial issues.” In conclusion of his speech, he states that he speaks as a citizen of the Republic of Azerbaijan and as a member of the Azerbaijani parliament, and all the objections that can be made to him should be made only from this point of view.

Kravchenko protests because there are no Russians represented in government, going as far as to say: “The Russian faction, entering the Parliament, firmly declared that it stands and will stand on the platform of a Great, United, Indivisible Russia. (Noise & screams – Get out! Leave for Rostov! Down with you! You have no place here!)

Rasulzadeh criticizes Malkhazyan about declaration text, he says there is no mention of Armenians as such manner, on the contrary, new declaration is not divisive and recognizes Armenians as a part of the society: Perhaps the expression “from the principle of reciprocity”, used in the Russian translation, does not quite successfully convey the idea of the Turkic text speaking of “mutual benefits”; it is possible that such inaccuracy has disturbed Mr. Malkhazyan. But if Mr. Malkhazian have not suffered from prejudice of thought, then it would have been easier for him to guess it was the translator’s error rather than thinking the whole government is in a conspiracy against the Armenians. Just because you are not included in government, is it fair to accuse with such ideas? … If the government declaration speaks of “mutual benefits,” it does not want to say that “let Armenia first ensure the rights of the Muslims, and then we will follow the same line in relation to the Armenians of Azerbaijan”. The government declaration is written in black and white. It is clearly seen from it that the government sincerely wants the rights of national minorities to mutual benefit to be resolved here and in Armenia. From the point of view of the declaration, only by this way it is possible to ensure the solidarity of the Caucasian peoples. Because of one unsuccessfully translated phrase, blaming the government, and claiming it to be Armenophobic, claiming it is outlawing the whole people is – please forgive me, but I will put it mildly – this is something different than chichencrafting. (Applause)

Rasulzadeh further confronted them that they were unsuccessful because they had absurd wishes. They wanted Prime Minister to admit that Armenians were subject to persecution and they demanded job quotas to be given according to ethnicities. But he was sure that their erroneous behavior do not reflect simple Armenians. He further draws examples from Armenian and Georgian governments that there are no Azerbaijanis in Armenian government, there no Armenians or Azerbaijanis in Georgian government – so this is not end of the world. Armenians are themselves to blame, since they couldn’t get along with other parties and only thought about themselves.

MP Safikurdsky proclaims he is a social revolutioners despite accused of being nationalist by Dashnaksutyun. He further draws attention to the fact that Dashnaksutyun is not based in Azerbaijan, but in Armenia. In which parliament almost no socialists exist and even if they do, they are half-menshevik and Dashnaks do not let them to talk.

25 December 1919

Parliament discusses excise tax on alcoholic beverages. Malkhazyan reminds people that even most oldest Islamic country alive – Turkey never banned winemaking. Proposes several excise tax prices. Says high taxes can destroy the industry. Other MPs oppose him, accuse him of being doomsday speaker. His proposals gets rejected.

29 December 1919

Parliament has a heated debate on budget revision committee. Malkhazyan gets elected to committee, socialist Karabeyov says Dashnaks can only speak of tyranny and wonders why there is no equal quota for all factions, Rasulzadeh answers him “socialists only make provocations”.

14 January 1919

Parliament celebrates Azerbaijan and Georgia’s de-facto recognition by Paris Peace Conference. Many representatives sent congratulatory telegrams, among them Armenia’s foreign minister. Malkhazyan speaks on behalf of Armenians, stresses that from now on, country should be called “Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan” and congratulates self-determination achievement of this young Turkic (sic) republic on behalf of Armenians who struggled for self-determination over years.

4 February 1919

Socialist Bloc faction headed by Ahmed bey Pepinov proposes Bekzadyan or Malkhazyan to be appointed as Azerbaijani representative in Armenia, both get rejected.

26 February 1919

Malkhazyan talks about poor Armenian family of 25 evicted from a home on Balakhanski street. Malkhazyan believes while it is government’s right to evict people from houses out of city planning or other designs, he insists that such actions had to be done in legal framework and they have to be offered alternative place to stay.

I’ve found no further mention of him in Parliament. Apart from that, this letter from him was quoted by Fatali khan Khoyski on Armenian-Azerbaijani Peace Conference.

14 December 1919

Chairmen of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Conference! The faction of the Dashnaktsutyun Party of the Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan warmly welcomes the opening of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conference. Firmly believing that the representatives of the republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia, inspired by the desire to establish friendly and coordinated relations between their centuries-old neighbors, will take as their starting point the secular peaceful cohabitation and friendship that always existed between the Turkic and Armenian peoples. The solidarity of the neighboring republics conceals in itself the possibility of achieving their most hallowed aspirations and desires – Chairman of the faction Arshak Malkhazov

What happened to Arshak Malkhazyan? I couldn’t find anything further. May be there is info in Armenian language but they are beyond my reach. There is a man purged in 1937 Stalin purges called Beglyar Arshakovich Malkhasyan (b. 1888) who was born in Armenia but was living in Baku. Could he be his son? I don’t know. But surely Malkhazyan was a unique personality in Azerbaijani history and his life should be further studied.