Guba mass grave

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Guba mass grave

The Guba mass grave is a mass grave site discovered in April 2007 during the construction of a stadium in the town of Guba in north eastern Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani sources say the site relates to killings in 1918.

Background[edit]

Main article: March Days

During March Days an inter-ethnic strife and massacres of up to 12,000[1][2] Azerbaijanis and other Muslims[3] that took place between March 30 and April 2, 1918 in the city of Baku and adjacent areas of the Baku Governorate of the Russian Empire.[4]

Facilitated by a political power struggle between Bolsheviks with support of the Dashnaktsutiun[5][6][7] on one side and Azerbaijani Musavat Party on another, the events led to a suppression of Muslim revolt[8] by Bolshevik and Dashnak forces[9][10] and establishment of a short-lived Baku Commune in April 1918.[11]

Investigation[edit]

Skeletons from a mass grave

Once the burial site was uncovered, a forensic expedition of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences was formed and sent to the location. On April 13, 2007, the first forensics report was released. According to the report, the preponderance of commingled skeletal remains suggests that the people were first executed and then thrown into the wells, 2.5 to 5 meters deep. The deepest wells had hundreds of human remains.[12] The first finds reported 137 skeletons.[13]

Gahraman Agayev, the leader of the forensic expedition, reported that two main wells and two canals with human bones were uncovered. The finds indicate that 24 skulls were of children, 28 were of women of various ages. Besides ethnic Azerbaijanis, there were also Jews and Lezgis.[12] The names of 81 massacred Jewish civilians were found and confirmed.[14]

Members of the Diplomatic Academy of Germany[15] and a Kuwaiti government delegation[16] have visited the site.

Reactions[edit]

Armenia has twice sent letters to the President of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan academician Mahmud Kerimov, the first written by Levon Yepiskoposyan, supervisor of Human Genetics, Institute of Molecular Biology, National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian president of the Anthropological Society and the second by the President of the Association of Political Science Ministry Doctor of Political Sciences Hayk Kotanjian, asking Kerimov to form a joint committee to examine the remains at the grave. Azerbaijan has not responded to the letters.[17]

Hayk Demoyan, the director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, has stated that no foreign experts have examined the human remains, and that no documentary or archival evidence has been presented that mentions a massacre of Muslims by Armenians having taken place in Guba.[18]

Legacy[edit]

On September 18, 2013, president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev inaugurated the Guba Genocide Memorial Complex.[19] In October 2013, the French Senate delegation, headed by senator Nathalie Goulet, laid a flower before the monument and commemorated the memory of the genocide victims.[20][21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Smith, Michael (April 2001). "Anatomy of Rumor: Murder Scandal, the Musavat Party and Narrative of the Russian Revolution in Baku, 1917-1920". Journal of Contemporary History 36 (2): 228. doi:10.1177/002200940103600202. The results of the March events were immediate and total for the Musavat. Several hundreds of its members were killed in the fighting; up to 12,000 Muslim civilians perished; thousands of others fled Baku in a mass exodus 
  2. ^ Minahan, James B. Miniature Empires: A Historical Dictionary of the Newly Independent States. p. 22. ISBN 0-313-30610-9. The tensions and fighting between the Azeris and the Armenians in the federation culminated in the massacre of some 12,000 Azeris in Baku by radical Armenians and Bolshevik troops in March 1918 
  3. ^ "New Republics in the Caucasus". The New York Times Current History 11 (2): 492. March 1920. 
  4. ^ Michael Smith. "Pamiat' ob utratakh i Azerbaidzhanskoe obshchestvo/Traumatic Loss and Azerbaijani. National Memory". Azerbaidzhan i Rossiia: obshchestva i gosudarstva (Azerbaijan and Russia: Societies and States) (in Russian). Sakharov Center. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  5. ^ De Waal, Thomas (2010). The Caucasus: An Introduction. Oxford University Press. p. 62. ISBN 0-19-539976-5. "In the so called March Days of 1918, Baku descended into a mini-civil war, after the Bolsheviks declared war on Musavat Party and then stood by as Dashnak militias rampaged through the city, killing Azerbaijanis indiscriminately" 
  6. ^ Suny, Ronald Grigor (1993). The revenge of the past:nationalism, revolution, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Stanford University Press. pp. 41–42. ISBN 0-8047-2247-1. 
  7. ^ Buttino, Marco (1993). In a collapsing empire:underdevelopment, ethnic conflicts and nationalisms in the Soviet Union Volume 28. Feltrinelli Editor. p. 176. ISBN 88-07-99048-2. "Violence increased during the Civil War, with massacres of Azeri Turks – by the combined forced of Armenian Dashnaktsutiun party and the Bolsheviks" 
  8. ^ World and Its Peoples: The Middle East, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. Marshall Cavendish. 2006. p. 786. ISBN 0-7614-7571-0. Muslims in Baku revolted in March 1918, but their uprising was suppressed by the city's Armenians 
  9. ^ De Waal, Thomas (2003). Black garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through peace and war. NYU Press. p. 100. ISBN 0-8147-1945-7. When in March 1918, Azerbaijanis revolted against the Baku Commune, Armenian Dashnaks and Bolshevik troops poured into the Azerbaijani quarters of the city and slaughtered thousands 
  10. ^ Suny, Ronald Grigor (1993). The revenge of the past:nationalism, revolution, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Stanford University Press. p. 42. ISBN 0-8047-2247-1. After crushing a Muslim revolt in the city, the Bolshevik-led government, with its small Red Guard, was forced to rely on Armenian troops led by Dashnak officers 
  11. ^ Cronin, Stephanie (2004). Reformers and revolutionaries in modern Iran: new perspectives on the Iranian left. Psychology Press. p. 91. ISBN 0-415-33128-5. After the 'March Days', the Bolsheviks finally came to power and established their famous Baku Commune in April 1918 
  12. ^ a b "Б. Сафаров. Установить всех жертв поименно не удастся". Эхо. Retrieved June 9, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Guba, Azerbaijan – Skull Fragments of 137 People Found in Mass Grave". Retrieved June 9, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Mass Grave Found in Northern Azerbaijan". Visions. Spring 2007. Retrieved June 9, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Сотрудники и студенты Дипломатической академии Германии посетили массовое захоронение в Губе". Day.az. May 23, 2009. Retrieved June 9, 2011. 
  16. ^ "KUWAITI DELEGATION VISITS GUBA MASS GRAVE". Oananews. April 15, 2010. Retrieved June 9, 2011. 
  17. ^ Армянские политологи против политики ксенофобии Ильхама Алиева: кто же захоронен в Губе? (in Russian). Regnum. 2 November 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  18. ^ Demoyan, Hayk (14 September 2010). Когда Губа не дура, или особенности национального геноцидостроения а Азербайджане. Golos Armenii (in Russian). Hayk Demoyan. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  19. ^ "Genocide Memorial Complex opened in Guba". www.news.az. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  20. ^ "French senators visit Guba Genocide Memorial Complex". www.parisguardian.com. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  21. ^ "French senators visit Guba Genocide Memorial Complex - PHOTOS". www.europesun.com. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°21′40″N 48°29′30″E / 41.36111°N 48.49167°E / 41.36111; 48.49167