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1920, Soviet Russian 11th Army invaded Azerbaijan. By the end of
April, Azerbaijani People's Democratic Republic collapsed. Facing little
resistance on behalf of disorganized Azerbaijani army Armenian troops and guerillas
took over all of the disputed territories. On April 29, Soviet occupants and
local communists proclaimed Azerbaijani
Republic in Baku. Immediately after that, following
orders from Moscow, the Soviets launched
offensive against Armenia
aiming at the expansion of Soviet Azerbaijan through the conquest of disputed
territories. Former Azerbaijani army was fighting alongside the 11th
Army of Soviet Russia against Armenian “imperialists” and “bourgeois
nationalists”. In order to weaken Armenian resistance, the communists of Armenia subordinate to Moscow,
were ordered to start an uprising and overthrow the government of Armenian Republic. The attempted communist coup
was unsuccessful. In spite of the fact that Armenian communists managed to
take over the towns of Alexandropol, Kars, Sarakykamysh, as well as several villages in disputed
Kazakh-Shamshadin area, the uprising was put down
by the government troops and police in less than a month. However, it
undermined the efforts of Armenia
to withstand Soviet invasion and led to the series of military defeats in
Kazakh-Shamshadin and Karabakh.
May 1920, the Soviet Russia offered Armenia to solve territorial
disputes through negotiations. Armenia
accepted the Soviet proposal and Soviet-Armenian negotiations started in Moscow immediately. They
lasted several weeks and did not seem to be productive.
The ruins of Shusha
/ June 1920
the delegations were arguing about the future borders, the Soviet troops kept
forcing Armenians out of Karabakh. On June 5 they took over Shusha and two weeks later all organized Armenian
resistance in that disputed area was crushed. After June 15, only few
isolated groups of Armenian fighters kept conducting guerilla operations in
the mountains of Karabakh.
spite of the fact that Soviet representatives at Moscow negotiations Chicherin and Karakhan agreed
to leave Zanghezur, Sharur,
Naxcivan and Ordubad
districts as well as most of Kazakh-Shamshadin
under Armenian control providing Armenia gives up Karabakh,
troops also invaded Zanghezur and on July 1 took
its major town of Tatev. Simultaneously the
Turkish regular troops crossed the Iranian border and started concentrating
in Maku area of North-Western Iran preparing to cross
Araxi river and take Naxcivan.
In the middle of July, 1920 Turkish and Soviet command agreed to start joint
military action in Sharur against their common enemy.
Both the Soviets and the Turks launched offensive against Naxcivan.
On July 28, attacked from the two sides and outnumbered by the enemy,
Armenian defenders of Naxcivan left the town and
retreated westwards. The next day “Soviet Socialist Republic of Naxcivan” was proclaimed, and its “Revolutionary
Committee” offered Yerevan
to recognize independence of a new “independent state”. In early August,
Armenian troops made one more attempt to take over Naxcivan
but were defeated at Shakh-Takhty by joint
August 10 1920, the cease-fire agreement was signed in Yerevan
by the representatives of Soviet and Armenian governments leaving Armenia
without most of the disputed territories but ending the hostilities along
Soviet-Armenian front-lines for more than three months. Sporadic fighting
continued in Karabakh and Zanghezur
districts where several Armenian warlords refused to stop guerilla war.