Andrew Andersen



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The Turkish-Armenian war of September-December/1920, ended with total collapse of the First Republic. Facing Armenian armies defeated and half of Armenian territory occupied, the government in Yerevan was left with no other choice but begging the enemy for peace no matter how harsh and humiliating its conditions could be. After short talks with the Turkish command, the cease-fire agreement between Turkey and Armenia was concluded on November 18 1920.


Several days later, following the orders from Moscow and Baku, Armenian communist groups started armed uprising in the towns of Dilijan and Caravan-Seray in northern Armenia. Following the orchestrated request for help sent by the rebels to the Soviet government on November 28, 1920 and blaming Armenia for the invasion of Sharur (20.11.1920) and Karabakh (21.11.1920) the 11th Red Army under the command of Anatoliy Hekker, crossed the demarcation line between Armenia and Soviet Azerbaijan.


From Armenian perspective, the troops of the First Republic had legal right to invade Sharur due to the fact that the «Soviet Socialist Republic of Naxcivan» proclaimed there on July 29 1920 under Soviet-Turkish protection, was officially not a part of Soviet Russia or Soviet Azerbaijan and could thus be considered as a breakaway part of Armenian Republic.


The situation in Karabakh was even more complicated due to the fact that local Armenian warlords continued guerilla warfare against the Soviets even after the cease-fire agreement was signed on August 10 1920, by Armenia and the Soviet Republics of Russia and Azerbaijan leaving Karabakh within Soviet Azerbaijan. Armenian partisans of Karabakh were getting random support from Armenia but that support was of rather private than official nature.


The second Soviet-Armenian war lasted only a week. Exhausted by the 6 years of permanent wars and conflicts, Armenian army and population were incapable of any further active resistance. Some desperate fight was taking place only in the areas where militia and army units believed that they were facing the Azerbaijani coming to wipe out the rest of Armenian population but they surrendered almost immediately after realizing that they were fighting predominantly Russians. The government in Yerevan also realized that abandoned by most of her Western allies, Armenia had no chances for survival and had to choose between either Turkish or Soviet Russian domination. The final decision was made on December 4 1920, in favor of Russia when the 11th red Army was entering the capital.


This was the end of the First Republic. Next morning, on November 30 1920, Armenian premier Simeon Vratsian and the Soviet envoy Boris LeGrand transferred formal power to the communist-dominated “Revolutionary Committee of Armenia”. Two days later, the “Revolutionary Committee” declared Armenia an “Independent Soviet Socialist Republic”.