At the end of 1917 in the beginning of 1918 in Baku clear fight of dashnak-Bolshevik unity against national forces was growing. In December 1917 the arrival of S.Shaumyan who appointed to the position of Extraordinary Commissar of the Caucasus by V.I.Lenin, the chairman of Russian Peoples Commissars Soviet, together Military Revolution Committee, which guided by Korganov came from Tbilisi to Baku intensified the political affair. The soldiers who came back from Caucasus front of Russia gathered in Baku instead of going back their homes. Shaumyan displayed a great activity in keeping these soldiers in Baku .
Bolshevik-dashnak forces who were afraid of the greatly increasing influence of “Musavat” that leaded the national forces in Azerbaijan had announced Baku as a struggle point between revolution and anti revolution. 20 thousand armed forces which majority were Armenians gathered under the name of Red army that was under Baku Soviet, the place Bolshevik-dahsnak forces combined.
In March 1918 political sphere in Baku was extremely intensive. Bolsheviks and dashnaks were strictly concerned about “Musavat’s” winning in elections for Baku Soviet by getting a great majority of votes. Musavat that changed into a strong political party in the Southern Caucasus was struggling confidently for territorial autonomy and political power of Azerbaijan . Bolshevik forces led by Shaumyan began a real war against to “Musavat” together with the leaders of Armenian National Council and “Dashnaksutyun” party. Shaumyan who knew that Azerbaijan national forces were few in number badly armed in Baku was going to begin national massacre for “to punish” the Muslims.
On March 29 “Evelina” ship’s – personal staff consisted of Muslims, being disarmed was the pretext to begin the national massacre.
Thus a small group consisting of 48 persons of Muslim division who were brining the corpse of H.Z. Tagiyev’s son Mahammad Tagiyev, who died as a result of careless behaviour with the gun on 17 March 1918 agitated Bolsheviks. The Muslim group who buried the deceased had to come back to Lenkoran by “Evelina” ship. A little remained for steamer’s leaving the bridge armed Bolsheviks demanded from Muslim group to disarm. Shooting by guns and machine-gun were the answer of Muslim group’s reject answer. The weapons in the ship were confiscated by armed Bolsheviks.
The next day Armenian soldiers appeared in the southern part of the city. They began to dig trenches along the streets, to build dikes by soil and stones. At that day Ter-Mikaelyantus, the ex chairman of Baku city, who came to the meeting held in the building of Muslim charity society announced by the name of Armenian National Council and “Dashnaksutyun” party if the Muslims took part against Bolsheviks, then Armenians would join them and would help to drive out Bolsheviks from Baku. On 31 March (by the old calendar 18 March) attacks began in the part of the city in the morning where Muslims lived. Muslims believed lie promises of Armenians, couldn’t firstly define what had happened in the city. Within the period of attack all Armenians from the part of the city where Muslim lived moved to the party where Armenians lived. There remained Russians and Georgians of Christian people in the Muslim residing part.
March genocide plan in Baku was drawing up by “Dashnaksutyun” party and Armenian National Committee since 1917. Several times they tried to involve Muslims against to the Bolsheviks. The purpose of Armenians was to annihilate Muslim people bodily by Bolshevik. Killing people and destroying Muslim districts were realized by organized Armenian military parts in a planned way upon the predefined system in all places of the city.
S.Shaumyan’s using Armenian military part who leaded Baku Soviet forces had made much deeper this massacre. Under the cover of protecting Bolsheviks Armenian military part cruelly inflicted reprisal to Turk-Muslim people. It must be noted that both Baku Soviet and its army mainly consisted of Armenians. Dashnaks in the Soviet, Sako Saakyan, Arakelyan and others impeded Bolshevik groups to admit Muslim employees. Dashnaks impeded Azerbaijanis to make their national army, by the name of Soviet, realized nationalist-chauvinist policy zealously, prepared massacre against to the turk-Muslim people in Baku , Shamakhi and other parts of Azerbaijan . From this point of view Armenian National Committee displayed a great activity. Pillage against to Muslims covered Shamakhi, Goychay, Ganja, Qazakh, Lenkoran, Salyan, on the whole all the regions of Azerbaijan .
Inhabitant of Baku city A.N.Kvasnikin who was questioned as a witness by Investigation Commission said: “On 17-21 of March of this year (by the old calendar) incidents of Baku may be explained in this way without being conscience-stricken: “It was a bloody attempt of Armenians against to the Muslims for the purpose of annihilating Muslim people firstly in Baku, then around the city, plundering all their properties and assimilating all their properties and political superiority by Armenians.””. (ARSA, f.1061, r.1, c.95, s.2).
Unbridled and wild Armenian bandits used severe methods for destroying Azerbaijan people. The member of Extraordinary Investigating Commission A.Y.Kluge wrote in his report “Violence that carried out against to the Muslim people of Baku city”: “Well armed, trained Armenian soldiers attacked accompanying number of machine-guns……Armenians invaded Muslim houses, destroyed the inhabitants of these houses, cut them by sabre and dagger and punched a hole by using bayonet, threw the children into the burning house, shook three-four days babies on the tip of bayonet, they didn’t take a pity on infants whose parents killed and they committed murder”. (Azerbaijan Republic State Political Parties and Public Movement Archive, fund 277, record 2, case 16, sheet 20).
Besides killing Muslims, Armenians destroyed their properties and stole little valuable things. Afterwards only in one place 57 Muslim women and girls corpses were found under the ground. Their ears, noses were cut off, their bellies torn open. Armenians tied the women to one another with their plaits, carried them bareheaded and barefoot in the cabs, they bit and crippled them using the butts of rifles on the road. (ARSPPPMA, f.277, r.2, c.16, s.18).
According to the documents of Investigation Commission it is clear that within March genocide of 1918 up to 11 thousands Turk-Muslim were killed in Baku city. Most of their corpses were not found. Because according to the explanation of witnesses, Armenians threw corpses into burning houses, to the sea and wells in order to hide the criminal. (ARSPPPM, f.277, r.2, c.16, s.18).
400 million manat jewellery and property from Baku people were confiscated. Number of sanctuary and historical monuments of the people were destroyed completely. Tezepir mosque was damaged by long-range gun. Dashnaks burned “Ismailiyye” building that considered one of the world architectural temples.(ARSPPPM A, f.277, r.2, c.13-16, s.25-26).
In the Investigation Commission materials it is said about this wildness: “On 18 March 1918 one Armenian officer besides three Armenian soldiers came into side-street among “Kaspi” newspaper Editorial office and “Ismailiyye” Muslim charitable society and entered into “Ismailiyye” building. After a while smoke and flame were in the window of the building. The building, which is not only considered a pride of Baku Muslims but also a beauty of this city was destroyed by fire. There was not any person in order to put out the fire, because the Muslims were not able to go to the street, they were fired by machine-guns and weapons”. That officer was Tatevos Emirov, the famous statesman of “Dashnaksutyun”. This man was the very Tatevos, whom Soviet historians and press propagated him as “invincible revolutioner”, “real fighter for peoples’ friendship”.
Robbers burned the Editorial office of “Kaspi” newspaper and the buildings of “ Dagestan ” hotel, “Iskenderiyye”, “Ismailiyye”. (ARSPPPMA, f.277, r.2, c.16, s.18).
Not only Azerbaijan Muslims, but also all Caucasus Muslims were injured in these massacres. Baku Muslim charitable society and Caucasus Muslim Committees were situated in “Ismailiyye”, here money and documents belonged to those organizations were kept, meetings and congresses of Muslims were held here. In editorial office of “Kaspi” newspaper books were published in Azeri. 5 thousand copies of Quran were kept here in “Kaspi” editorial office. All of them were burned.
In March pillages besides well organized military parts, Armenian intellectuals and youths participated here. It is mentioned in the Investigation Commission materials that “representatives who represented all classes of Armenian people considered themselves obliged to take part in this “war”. There were oil proprietor, engineers, doctors, contour employees; on the whole all the layers of Armenian people realized their “civil debts””. (ARSA, f.100, r.1, c.791, s.791).
10 armed sailors under by the led of pilot Rozenblyumun to Kazim Akhundov, the assistant of commander of steamer “Nikolay Buniatov” on 6 April for defending of Chenberekend upland part of Baku. Akhindov began to collect the corpses in the Nikolayev street on 7 April. Among them there were the corpses of 3 Muslim gymnasium pupils who were cut off into pieces by sword and bayoneted, 11 gymnasium girls, 1 Russian woman, 3 Muslim boys at the age of 3-5, 8 Russian men, 19 Iranian Muslim women and 67 Azerbaijani corpses who were from different professions. Besides this, 6748 corpses of women and children were delivered to the bridge of “Vulkan” society. Akhundov carried his acquaintance Vladimir Sokolov to the place called “Kerpijkhana”. Here he took 3 photos. The first photo was of a woman who had a bullet wound in her head, 5 bayonets wound in her body and a sword blow in her right collar-bone. On her right breast there was a baby still alive. There was a bayonet wound on the leg of baby.
The second picture was of a child age of 2 who was nailed up to the wall with a big tack. It is clear from the top of nail that he was nailed up to the wall by stone. The stone was still there.
The first photo was a corpse of a girl age of 13-14. It seems from the photo that a teenage girl was raped.
When Akhundov entered into room 4 th together with Sokolov they saw a terrible view: there were corpses of a girl age of 22-23 on the floor of a large room, 2 women, a girl age of 9, a boy age of 8 and infant. Dogs ate the legs and hands of the baby. Described view influenced Sokolov and he was not able to take more photos.
Robbers did not take a pity on their acquaintances, for instance on 20 March Stepan Lalayev together with the group of Armenian soldiers invaded into the flat of doctor Beybala bey Sultanov residing at the address of Vorrontsov and killed him by taking revolver. By coming down to the yard Lalayev shot Muslim employee, his wife and his son age of 2. Armed Armenians till thirty invaded Mashadi Ahmad Rahim’s son, valuable things in the sum of 34 thousand 840 manat were stolen. Mashadi Ahmad recognized tailor Hayki and shop-keeper Yekhush.
Tragic events that took place in Baku damaged the city greatly. Epidemy was revolted and killed thousands of people; they were not given water and food. It can be called that all food and products in the market and shops were disappeared. Robbers gathered and carried all food. The press was writing: “People were tortured by hunger”.