• The streets of Khankendi
  • The view of Khankendi from Shusha
  • A nature view of native Garabagh
  • The monument to World War II
  • Baku-Khankendi-Shusha road

Administrative-territorial division of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region

Armenian occupation of Zangezur region of Azerbaijan, Separation of Nakhichevan from other Azeri lands

As mentioned above, the government of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic adhered to the principal of traditional historical-geographical administrative division and annexing Shusha, Dkavanshir, Dhabrail and Zangezur regions to Karabakh governorship-general, regarded them as the unique administrative region. The government of the Soviet Azerbaijan also demanded Armenia to withdraw its troops from Zangezur and Karabakh in its diplomatic note of April 30, 1920. However, in Soviet times the concept of Zangezur separate from Karabakh was created for definite purposes.

That aimed to strengthen pressure on Azerbaijan in determing the fate of the said lands. The further development of events showed that under the pressure of the Soviet Russia the attitude towards Zangezur changed in period preceding the establishment of the Soviet government in Armenia from April to November 1920. The telegram of the Azerbaijan Revolutionary Committee to the Soviet Republic of Armenia of November 40 and declaration of December 1("Narimanov´s Declaration") reported on the delivery of Daghlig Garabagh to Armenia.

However, in fact 3.105 sq. versts out of total 6.742 sq. versts of Zangezur retained the part of Azerbaijan, while its 3.637 sq.versts were delivered to Armenia. The historical literature does not lighten this problem sufficiently. It found its wider reflection in the above mentioned article by A.M.Skubitski. It reads: the substantial amendment to Narimanov´s declaration of Zangezur the part of the Soviet Armenia is overlooked today. That is the declaration of the Azerbaijani government on the "Right of peasants of Daghlig Garabagh to determine their own fate". To date this declaration concerns only the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh. At that period that meant the autonomy suggested not only to the whole Daghlig Garabagh and Armenians, residing within the bounds of Azerbaijan but also to kurds living in Zangezur.

Sh.I,Kasyan, chair of the Armenian Revolutionary Committee considered it better to preserve the north part of the region, inhabited by kurds the part of Azerbaijan. This opinion was approved by the Caucasus Bureau of the Central Committee under the Russian Communist Party. The part granted to Armenia retained its name Zangezur, while the administrative devision of the Soviet Azerbaijan changed at that time.

The most hard blow struck to Azerbaijan and the most hostile act was the separation of Nakhichevan from other Azeri lands, and cutting off its contacts with them through delivering a part of Zangezur to Armenia. Moreover, the step was the preparation for the further implementation of Armenia´s mean plans concerning Nakhichevan.

Administrative changes in other lands of Karabakh

As a result of purposefully implemented processes of 1920-1923 the lands constituting Karabakh khanate lost their traditional historical-geographical integrity. The country was divided on 15 regions by the list of settlements issued on the basis of the materials of agricultural census enumerations conducted in 1917 and 1921. Karabakh comprised Djabrail (Karyagin), Djavanshir, Qubadly (a part of the former Zangezur region) and Shusha region.As seen that stage reflected the division of Zangezur while the areas of other regions were kept within their borders. As a result of establishment of Daghlig Garabagh Autonomous Province a number of settlements of Djavanshir, Shusha and Qubadly regions were separated from their traditional administrative divisions and annexed to the province.

That caused the need to conduct a new administrative division. The issue was discussed at a session of the commission that had developed the statue of the Daghlig Garabagh Autonomous Province. The resolution on the third issue of Plain Karabakh administrative division and form of government was as follows: to establish the Executive Committee of Lower Karabakh comprising the flat part of Djavanshir region, Shusha, Qubadly and Karyagin (Djabrayil), to apply the regulation of 1923 on province executive committee and to empower the Special commission under the Azerbaijan Central Executive Committee to conduct the division of the Plain Karabakh province.

The fourth issue of Zangezur´s administrative division and form of government was also discussed at the session. As seen, in period of establishment of the Daghlig Garabagh Autonomous Province it was planned to unite the Plain Karabakh within a unique administrative unit. However, with time passed the plan was changed. In accoardance with the order of the Azerbaijan Central Executive Province of August 6, 1923 signed by Gasymov, chair of the Azerbaijan Central Executive Committee, M.Quliyev, deputy chair of the Council of People´s Commissars and Interior Minister I.Sviridov, Aghdam, Djabrail and Kurdistan regions were established on the remaining part of Karabakh following the establishment of the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh.

That very document determined the composition, centers, executive committee chairs and other issues of Aghdam, Djabrail and Kurdistan, while Qubadly region was abolished.

Considering various administrative divisions conducted in the Soviet Azerbaijan, the Central Statistical Agency of Azerbaijan made calculations on the area of the country, the national composition and other issues on the basis of the materials of 1921´s agricultural census enumeration. They defined that of the historical area of Karabakh (the borders of the khanate) the autonomous province of Daghlig Garabagh with an area 4.160.5 km2, Djabrail region-4.268.5 km2, Aghdam region-4.135.5 km2, Kurdistan-3.432.4 km2 (total 15.996.9 km2) retained the part of Azerbaijan, while part of the historical lands of Azerbaijan were torn from it and granted to Armenia.

Further administrative divisions resulted in the establishment of Zengilan (0.7 thousand km2), Qubadly (0.8 thousand km2), Lachyn (1.8 thousand km2) regions on a part of Zangezur preserved within Azerbaijan SSR with definite alterations (first Qubadly, later Kurdistan region).At the same time Aghdam and Djebrail regions were divided into Aghdam (1.1 thousand km2), Barda (1 thousand km2) Aghdjabedi (1.8 thousand km2), Terter (0.4 thousand km2) and Djebrail (1 thousand km2) districts. Thus Karabakh khanate, that played a occupied a worthy place in the history of the Azerbaijani state organization was divided in two parts with one part granted to Armenia while the other part turned to the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh within Azerbaijan.

Daghlig Garabagh in 1923-1980

Speaking on the issue of autonomy attached to Daghlig Garabagh we did not pay much attention to the most important events in the history of its administrative division. Analysis show that the administrative division of Daghlig Garabagh was not condicted on the basis of scientific-geographical principles but on the specially targeted volunteer approach that means that the regions of Armenians predominance were taken as centers while other areas concentrated around them (It should be mentioned by the way that Armenians can demand their autonomy on the areas of their compact settmlement in other countries as well!).

It came to the situation when Aghbadan village of Kelbagjar, Upper Veyselli village of Fuzuli were preserved within the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh and the administrative subordinance changed. The resolution of the commission, working our the statue of the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh provided for the annexation of over 170 districts to the autonomy. The Central Statistical Agency of Azerbaijan noted that in 1924 the number of the such distructs exceeded 200, while the book of Armenian Q.Kocharyan points out the figure 215. These facts prove that the territory of Daghlig Garabagh expanded and Armenians dominated the number of the population and ethnic composition in the new settlements. Following the establishment of the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh is´s territory was divided in accordance with the principle district-volost-village as follows: 1 Dizag district that comprised 5 volosts (Hadrut, Tugh, Khozaturd, Arakul, Edilli) and 48 villages; 2 Verende district, including 5 volosts (Taghavert, Sus, Chartaz, Norashen) and 46 villages; 3 Shusha district, covering Shusha city and Malybeyli volost (12 villages); 4 Khachyn district, that comprised 4 volosts (Dashbulaq, Askeran, Krasnoselsk, Qala) and 53 villages; 5 Djerabend district. The region covered 4 volosts (Margushevan, Oratag, Dovshanly, Aterk) and 53 villages. In the conduction of the new administrative division anumber of alterations were made in the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh. In August of 1930 its territory again was divided in five districts: 1. Djeraberd, 2. Martuni, 3. Stepanakert, 4. Dizag, 5. Shusha. Obviously, Varanda is called Martuni, the area of Khatuni belonged to Stepanakert. On August 17 of 1939 Dherabert was renamed Mardakert, Dizag acquired the name Hadrut.

In other words such geographical names as Dizaq, Verende, Khachyn, Cheraberd of the period of the Caucasus Albania fell into oblivion and were replaced by the names, concering Armenians, that moved on that land for a special purpose during Russia´s occupation. The policy of widening the towns struck hard blow on Shusha in early 1960th.

Shusha district was abolished on January 4, 1963 and its territory transferred to Stepanakert. Yet new alterations took place in the administrative division following the resignation of N.S.Khrushchov Shusha distrct was restored on January 6, 1965. According to the resolution of Heydar Aliyev Askeran district was established in place of Stepanakert in 1978. Such administrative division of the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh existed till the collapse of USSR.

Thus, the facts mentioned above reveal clearly Armenian´s policy to establish their government in the lands of another nation. Armenians once conducted the same process in West Azerbaijan-in Irevan khanate and continued their plans in Karabakh.

One of the issues of the Daghlig Garabagh Autonomous Province most falsified by Armenians was the dynamics of the number of its population and national composition. In this connection, let´s review the following table, instroduced by prof. Y.Barseqov.

The comparison of the real number of population of Daghlig Garabagh (by a census enumeration) and Prof.Y.Bargasov´s calculations as a result of migration (the growth from previous years in percents, calculated by us).


Factual number
Calculation numberAzerbaijanis
Factual number
Calculation number
1921128 060128 0607 5947 594
1939132 800 (3,7%)*208 317 (62,7%)14 100 (77,2%)9 875 (24,1%)
1959110 100 fh(-17,1%)375 677 (80,3%)18 000 (27,6%)15 803 (60%)
1970121 100 (10%)517 223 (37,7%)27 200 (51,1%)22 312(41,2%)
1979123 100 (1,6%)620 238 (19,9%)37 200 (36,7%)27 176 (21,8%)
1989 731 959 (18%) 32 548 (19,7%)

Taken from Barsegov. Y. G. Право на самоопределение-основа демократического решения межнационалных проблем. К проблеме Нагорного Карабаха. Еeреван,1989,p.101 Relative growth from previous years.

To confuse a reader Y.Barsegov uses absolute dimensions, while the explanation needs relative indicators to be more understandable. The application of such calculations to the table reveals a degree of its absurdity. It is not possible that the factual growth of Armenians of 3.6% corresponds to the calculations of 38.5% , while in case of Azerbaijanis this relation is 46.1% to 23.1%. Such an approach aims to pervert the facts and is nothing but a mockery at a reader! Let´s review the following estimate in order to direct the problem into the scientific course.

Number of Armenians in Armenia and their average density in the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh calculated by Y.Barsegov method and their comparison (per sq. km)

Average density of Armenians 
YearIn Armenia (factual)In the Autonomous Provide of Daghlig Garabagh (calculated by Y.Barsegov)
 TotalCompared with Armenia

Taken from : Всесоюзная перепись населения 1926 г. Закавказскaя СФСР.т.ХЫВ. М., 1929, с.11-13; Вестник статистики, 1990, V 7, p.77; "Правда" от 2 июня 1939 ; Итоги Всесоюзной переписи населения 1959 г. Армянская ССР. М., 1963, с.11, 102-103; Численность и состав населения СССР. По данным Всесоюзной переписи населения 1979 г. М., 1984; Ходжабекян В.Е. Армянская Советская Социалистическая республика. Население союзных республик. М., 1977, с.278

Y.Barsegov´s unscientific calculations come to the astronomic indicator of Armenian´s average density on the area of 4.4 thousand km2 that is the area of the Autonomous Province of Daghlig Garabagh! Thus, Armenian authors (i.e. Armenian nationalists) perverted the history up to the degree when to define the truth turns to a task difficult one. In fact, the growth dynamics of the population of Daghlig Garabagh was as follows.

The growth dynamics of the Daghlig Garabagh´s population in 1926-1988

YearNumber of population (thousand).Growth from provious years,
%Average annual growth the period,

Taken from : Samedzade. Z. Нагорный Карабах: неизвестная правда (О некоторых аспектах социально-экономического и демографического развития региона). Baku, 1995, с. 31

The above mentioned table, based on the official soviet census enumeration (except for the year of 1989), reflects the reality more truthfully and false (i.e. exaggerated) indicators of Armenian authors, purposing at a special aim, can not rebut them.

AMEA-nın A.Bakıxanov adına Tarix İnstitutu

İstifadə olunmuş ədəbiyyat:

2. İ.Musayev "Azərbaycanın Naxzıvan və Zənqəzur bölgələrində siyasi vəziyət və xarici dövlətlərin siyasəti (1917-1921-ci illər)" adlı monoqrafiyasının (Bakı, 1998) "Zənqəzurun bir hissəsinin Ermənistana verilməsi prosesi" paraqrafında (s.300-335) bu problemin bəzi aspektlərinə toxunmuşdur.
3. Скибицкий А.М. Указ. соч.
4. Список населенных мест Азербайджана (по материалам сельско-хозяйственный переписей 1917 и 1921 гг.) Баку. 1922
5. К истории образования Нагорно-Карабахской автономной области Азербайджанской ССР, с. 165-166
6. К истории образования Нагорно-Карабахской автономной области Азербайджанской ССР, с. 174-175
7. Азербайджанская сельскохозяйственная перепись 1921 г. Итоги по сельским обществам во вновь образованных уездах АССР, Нагорного Карабаха и по тем (основным) уездам, в которых произошли изменения границ. т. III. Вып. XVIII, Баку, 1924, с.9
8. Азербайджанская ССР. Административно-территориальное деление. Баку, 1979
9. К истории образования Нагорно-Карабахской автономной области Азербайджанской ССР, с. 164-166
10. Азербайджанская сельскохозяйственная перепись 1921 г. т. III. Вып. XVIII, Баку, 1924
11. Кочарян Г.А. Нагорный Карабах. Баку, 1925
12. Кочарян Г.А. Нагорный Карабах. Баку, 1925, с. 48-51
13. Хоскинг Дж. История Советского Союза. 1917-1991. М., 1995, с. 337-372. Təəssüf hissi ilə qeyd etmək lazımdır ki, bu müəllif Dağlıq Qarabağda baş verən hadisələrin mahiyyətini düzgün izah edə bilmir // Yenə orada, s. 484-486
14. Azərbaycan SSR. İnzibati ərazi bölgüsü. 1968-ci il iyunun 10-dək olan vəziyyətə görə tərtib edilmişdir. Bakı, 1968; Azərbaycan SSR inzibati ərazi bölgüsü. Bakı, 1979