Bolshevik revolutionary Meshadi Azizbekov
|Deputy People's Commissar of Internal Affairs of Caucasus|
January 6, 1876|
Baku, Baku Governorate, Russian Empire
|Died||September 20, 1918
|Political party||Communist Party of the Soviet Union|
Meshadi Aziz-bey oghlu Azizbekov, also spelled Azizbeyov (Azerbaijani: Məşədi Əziz bəy oğlu Əzizbəyov; Russian: Мешади Азиз-бек оглы Азизбеков; January 6, 1876 - September 20, 1918) was a Soviet revolutionary of Azerbaijani origin, leader of the revolutionary movement in Azerbaijan, one of the first Azeri Marxists, Provincial Commissioner and Deputy People's Commissar of Internal Affairs, gubernial commissar for Baku. He was one of the 26 Baku Commissars.
Azizbekov became the member of Russian Social Democratic Labour Party and one of the leaders of Muslim Social Democratic Party. After the October Revolution he joined to Baku Comissars. As the Baku Commune was voted out of power in July 1918, Azizbekov and rest of the Commissars abandoned Baku and fled across the Caspian Sea. However they were captured by anti-Soviet forces. On the night of September 20, Azizbekov was executed by a firing squad in a remote location between the stations of Pereval and Akhcha-Kuyma on the Trans-Caspian railway.
Currently the views on Azizbekov are mixed. Azerbaijani nationalism, the ruling New Azerbaijan Party as well as the main opposition parties Musavat and APFP doesn't see Azizbekov as a positive figure. Though Azerbaijan Communist Party and many other local left-wing politicians and the people sees Azizbekov as an important, notable and positive figure in the history of Azerbaijan.
Soviet sources claimed that he was born into the family of bricklayers but according to the grandson of Meshadi; Mehdi Azizbekov his grandfather was born into a family of noblemen and Meshadi's father was close friends with Zeynalabdin Taghiyev but he was executed during the rule of Tsarist Russian Empire.
Meshadi finished secondary school in Baku in 1896 and moved to St. Petersburg to enter civil engineering school. He joined the Russian Social Democratic Party in 1898, and took part in student movements. In 1899 he entered the St. Petersburg Technological Institute and graduated in as an electrical engineer. He was fluent in Russian and German languages.
Russia and Iran
He took part in the protest of Saint Petersburg factory workers in 1902 which he was persecuted for and in the Russian Revolution of 1905 as well as famous "Mazut" constitution movement in Azerbaijan. He was an organizer of the Baku Oil Workers Union. During World War I, he helped many war refugees and wounded regardless of their nationality.
Azizbekov was the member of İctimaiyyun-amiyyun (Mujaheed) party in Iran, also chosen for Baku State Duma at that time. During the Iranian revolution of 1908-10 he had been to Iran for support in terms of literature and weaponry. In 1909 he was chosen as the head of the organization called "Help for Iranian Revolution" in Baku. He was invited to Rasht and Anzali for revolutionary works. He personally knew Sattar Khan.
He played a very active role for the establishment National Drama Theater of Azerbaijan (Academy National Drama Theater was named after him for a short time) and also contributed to the construction of Shollar water in Baku, as a financial supporter and as an engineer. During his job in Elektrichiskaya Sila he tried to stop the Azerbaijani-Armanian ethnic clashes. In 1906, he created the war "drujina" in Baku called Bayraği-nüsrət (Flag of the Glory). Then he played role in the publishment of the Bolshevik papers called Devet-Qoch and Priziv. He became the co-head of the cultural-educative society of Nijat and opened a new place to help the poor population of Baku. In 1914 he participated and actively supported the protest of Baku industrial workers. Jalil Mammadguluzadeh gave the first publication of Molla Nasraddin to Azizbekov for his contributions to education in Azerbaijan at that time.
Baku Commissars and Death
After the 1917 revolution, he was elected to the Baku Commune. In March, he began participation in Hummet organizations. In April, he became part of the bureau of the Muslim Social Party in Baku. He continued similar activities for the rest of the year. He was one of the 26 Baku Commissars of the Soviet Commune that was established in the city after the October Revolution. According to the grandsson of Meshadi; during March Days Meshadi was responsible of Shamakhi district and he saved the large part of population from the mass killings of Dashnaks as he believed the poor village population can not be dangerous to the revolution.
Azizbekov was friends with Mammad Amin Rasulzade in the early 1900s when he was also the member of Hummet organization. When the Commune was toppled by the Centro Caspian Dictatorship, a British-backed coalition of Dashnaks, SRs and Mensheviks, Azizbekov and his comrades were captured by British troops and executed by firing squad between the stations of Pereval and Akhcha-Kuyma of the Transcaucasian Railroad.
Azizbekov, along with other Baku Comissars were buried with a huge ceremony in the center of Baku. On January 2009, the Baku authorities began the demolition of the city's 26 Commissars Memorial commemorating the 26 Commissars. The monument itself had been fenced-off since July 2008. The remains of the commissars were reburied at Hovsan Cemetery on 26 January 2009, with participation of Muslim, Jewish and Christian clergy who conducted religious ceremonies.
The dismantling was opposed by some local left-wingers and by the Azerbaijan Communist Party (1993) in particular. During the reburial not any information have been given to the family of Meshadi Azizbekov while his family were wanting Azizbekov to be reburied in the graveyard of Suvelan right to the grave of his mother. Currently in the graveyard it's impossible to recognize the which grave belongs to Meshadi Azizbekov.
Meshadi was married with the daughter of millionaire of the era Zarbaliyev and he had four children; Aslan, Beyimkhanum, Safura and Aziz who later became Major-General Quartermaster Service. His granddaughter Pustekhanum wrote number of books about her grandfather. His wife Khanum Azizbekova became the chairman of the first women club in 1919 organized by the oil magnate Shamsi Asadullayev. She was also active in the magazine Şərq qadını (Woman of East), which takes a notable part in the history of women in Azerbaijan. The grandsson of his uncle's son Janibek Azizbekov was killed during in the Nagorno-Karabakh War.
In Soviet Union, Azizbekov was portrayed as one of the fallen heroes of Russian Revolution. He was portrayed in movies, one being by Azeri actor Malik Dadashev in the film called 26 Baku Commissars! (1966) and also in 26 Commissars in 1933. He was portrayed by actor Ajar actor Nodar Shashigoglu in Azerbaijani film Morning (1960). The first historical narrative in Azerbaijani literature Komissar by writer Mehdi Huseyn features Azizbekov as the main character. He, along with other Baku Commissars was subject to many films, documentaries, novels and even poems of the Soviet Union, notably the 26-lar by Samed Vurgun, the novels Fighting City and Mysterious Baku by Mammad Said Ordubadi, also works of Nikolai Tikhonov, Nairi Zarian, Suleyman Rustam, Yeghishe Charents, Mikayil Mushfig, Vasily Kamensky, Paolo Iashvili, Semyon Kirsanov, Mirvarid Dilbazi, and Sergey Yesenin.
The towns of Vayk, Aregnadem and Zarritap, all being in Armenia were officially nameda as Azizbekov in Soviet era. Bust of his in metro station in Georgia and one of the central parks of Armenia, monument and metro station in Azerbaijan were removed during in last decades. Khazar raion was officially called Azizbekov until 2010. The street named after him in Turkmenistan was changed in recent years as well.
His monument in Yerevan, then capital of Armenian SSR was the first communist memorial that is demolished in Armenia. Despite the official version of the falling of the monument was that a trucker ran into it with losing control of the vehicle, still it's dubious to many that was it really an accident or premidental act, as Azizbekov happened to be an Azerbaijani.
However still an avenue, street in Baku, villages in Goygol and Goranboy regions of Azerbaijan, a city in the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic is officially called Azizbekov. There are streets named after him in Kazakhstan (Almaty, Taraz), Russia (Volgograd, Astrakhan), Tajikistan (Dushanbe), Ukraine (Kryvyi Rih, Donetsk), and Uzbekistan (Jizzakh). There's an alleyway in Magaramkent (Dagestan) named after him.
- Muslim National Communism in the Soviet Union: A Revolutionary Strategy for the Colonial World by Alexandre A. Bennigsen, S. Enders Wimbush
- Criticism on Meshadi Azizbekov's political views by Maharram Zulfuqarli - SalamInfo
- [Мешади Азизбеков, пламенный борец за власть советов: речи, документы и материалы by Alexey Karenin, Azerneshr, 1976.]
- Life of Meshadi Azizbekov, by Mamed Kaziyev, 1976.
- Azerbaijan Democratic Republic Encyclopedia First Part. Page on Azizbekov.
- "Əzizbəyov və Caparidzenin heykəlləri əvvəlki yerinə qaytarılmayacaq". Lent.Az. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- Фаик Меджид. В Азербайджане против демонтажа мемориала 26 Бакинских комиссаров протестуют только левые (in Russian). kavkaz-uzel.ru. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
- Мурсал Алиев. Продолжается демонтаж мемориала 26 Бакинских комиссаров в Баку (in Russian). 1news.az. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
- Is Meshadi Azizbekov removing from the history? - Musavat article
- Generaly Azerbaĭdzhana: katalog by Naila Valikhanli. 2005.
- interview with Naila Azizbekova
- 26 Baku Commissars in the Literature, A. Y. Yerevanli, 1960.
- "Baku's Azizbeyov district renamed Khazar". News.az. 2010-05-11. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- "Changed street names in Turkmenistan". Avaza.ucoz.ru. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- Russian Cultural Anthropology After the Collapse of Communism. Yerevan memory and forgetting in the organization of post-Soviet urban space by Levon Abrahamian, p. 240
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