“Azerbaijani historical and geographical falsifications” -
Rouben Galichian was born in Tabriz, Iran, to a family of immigrant Armenians who had fled Van in 1915 to escape the Genocide, and who arrived in Iran via Armenia, Georgia and France. After attending school in Tehran, Rouben obtained a degree in Engineering from the University of Aston, Birmingham in 1963.
Rouben Galichian has written numerous books outlining the history and cartography of the Caucasus. He is also the author of a number of cartographic articles published in various magazines and has lectured extensively in Europe, the USA, Iran and Armenia. For his services to Armenian historical cartography, Rouben was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia in November of 2008. In 2009 he was the recipient of “Vazgen I” cultural achievements medal. He is married and shares his time between London and Yerevan.
A presentation of the Russian edition of Ruben Galchian’s (photo) book entitled “Azerbaijani historical and geographical falsifications” was held on March 4 at the Armenian Embassy in Moscow, Russia.
In the book the author details the main historic stages of the states south of the Caucasus with maps of different epochs and references to historical sources. Research includes historical and ethnographic materials, it also presents an analysis of 45 important Christian, Islamic, Greek and Roman maps, which are of great historical significance.
During the presentation of the book Galchian referred to the ongoing policy of Azerbaijan to distort history, its origins and methodology used. He noted that the book is the result of long and hard work, and is an attempt to objectively represent real history thru internationally accepted sources.
“Azerbaijani historical and geographical falsifications”
By Rouben Galichian
In May 1918 in the region south of the Caucasus three new states were formed, two of which – Armenia and Georgia had a rich history and tradition of the statehood. At the same time, north of the Arax River and on the east coast of the Caspian Sea another state – Azerbaijan was formed, whose name was an anomaly for this region. The newly established country gave itself the name of one of the ancient north-eastern provinces of Persia, Azerbaijan, which the Armenian call with its historical name – Atrpatakan.
At the time, many Persian scholars protested against the use of the name of their province for the naming of the newly established state. However, at the time the Great Powers were engaged in the division of Middle East oil wells amongst themselves and they did not have time to deal with other seemingly unimportant issues. When the Communist order was established in Azerbaijan, the new government decided to keep the old name with the intention of using it in the future to their political advantage.
In 1925 the Russian orientalist Vassily Vladimirovich Bartold in his speech in Baku University announced that the name Azerbaijan was given to the new country only for political purposes, a prediction, which was later confirmed. This was first manifested when in 1947 in Tabriz the Democratic Party announced its desire to join the Soviet Azerbaijan and yet again in 1992, when the President of independent Azerbaijan, Mr. Elchibey announced that he intends to reunite their brothers and sisters living across the border in Iran.
In time Stalin ordered that each republic of the Soviet Union should have its unique and particular history and culture. But how could this be made true by a newly created state without past and unified history and culture? The solution was found – the history and culture of the peoples living in this territory of ancient peoples could be declared as their own. To this end Azerbaijani authorities planned and implemented special programs which were intensified during the 1960s. They reached their apex after independence, with the encouragement and guidance of President Ilham Aliyev.
Since the dominant culture in the region was Armenian, the Azerbaijani historians had to take the following steps:
a) to eliminate the names of all Armenians from the region claiming them to be newcomers in the region of the South Caucasus, who arrived there during the early 19th century.
b) to declare that the Albanian Christians or Caucasian Albanians who embraced Islam after the tenth century, were their forefathers.
c) when the opportunity arose to announce that they belong to the “great” Turkic nation.
The above actions would give them the possibility of appropriating all the local history and culture and make them an “ancient” and “great” country.
While implementing these programs Azerbaijani authorities encountered many problems which they conveniently ignored in order to achieve their end. The main problems were:
1. Despite the fact that the name of the country was changed to Azerbaijan, until the adoption of the Stalinist constitution in 1936, the locals called themselves “Turks”.
2. The vast majority of Christian monuments of Azerbaijan and Artsakh were built during the 10th to 18th centuries, when the local Albanians had already been Islamized. The question arises- how could Islamized Albanians build and renovate Christian churches, monasteries, cross-stones, or were they perhaps done by local Armenian builders?
3. From the 12th century the region was visited by European, Arab and Persian travellers who meticulously described the life and culture of the Armenians living in the South Caucasus. The Persian Shah Abbas, who the Azerbaijanis claim to be their own, in 1604-5 forcibly displaced about half a million Armenians to Persia from Nakhichevan, Armenia and Artsakh. If one is to believe what the Azerbaijani historians claim, there would be no Armenians living there, therefore, where did Shah Abbas brought this great mass of people from and why did he give them special permission to name their new settlement New “Julfa”, which was one of the names of their previous hometowns?
4. The common language spoken in Azerbaijan and Iranian provinces of Azerbaijan is erroneously called “Azeri”, while it actually is a form of “Turkish”. According to Iranian and Iranian Azerbaijani scientists, until the 15th to 16th centuries the spoken language of the Iranian Azerbaijani people was not Turkish, but a dialect of middle Persian, which was the real Azeri language. Since the rule of the Seljuks the local language was gradually replaced by the language of the new masters – the Turks. It should be noted that in the Azerbaijani provinces of Iran there still are some settlements, whose inhabitants speak with their ancient Iranian dialects.
Azerbaijanis have an excellent weapon for amending, modifying and censoring the ancient history. A country that insists having five thousand years of statehood, has no written culture language until the second half of the 19th century, and even then uses the Persian as their written language. Thus, they began writing any official document and books in Persian and when the language was changed to Turkish, they first used the Persian alphabet. First they used the Persian-Arabic script, later, in 1929 they changed it to the Latin alphabet, and in 1939 this was changed to the Cyrillic alphabet, and once again, after independence they returned to a modified Latin alphabet.
All these transliterations allow the Azerbaijani authorities and historians to change, transform and falsify their own history to serve their political goals, which manifest itself in all literature.
Azerbaijanis insist that:
Azerbaijani statehood has five thousand years of history.
1. Azerbaijan as an independent country has existed more than 2,000 years.
2. Empires, including the Arab Caliphate, Iran and Russia colonized Azerbaijan, emasculating its Turkish culture.
3. In 1813 and 1828 a joint Russian-Iranian conspiracy divided Azerbaijan into two parts and brought the Armenians to the Caucasus.
4. Founded in 1918, the Republic of Azerbaijan testified to the revival of historical Azerbaijan, the first democracy in the East.
The present book carefully studies the works of European, Arab, Persian, and other historians born in the territory of modern Azerbaijan concluding that the country called “Azerbaijan” located north of the Arax River, was founded in 1918 and its population being a mixture of various nationalities and cultures, cannot be claimed to have one unique and individual culture and history. The book also reveals the reasons and purpose of historical falsification of the Azerbaijan Republic.
Like the United States of America, Azerbaijan should also have the courage to admit that its population is a mixture of different cultures and histories that cannot be uniform and be called uniquely Azerbaijani.
After this introduction and for further clarification, some twenty ancient and medieval map images were presented and analysed.