Victims of Soviet regime remembered in Baku (VIDEO)

Victims of Soviet regime remembered in Baku (VIDEO)

By Austin Clayton

As part of events dedicated to the 100-year anniversary of the border protection of Azerbaijan, the State Border Service has established the Museum of Victims of Political Repression in Baku. The museum, dedicated to the memory of the victims of Soviet repression, is located inside the State Border Service’s administrative building, which once served as KGB headquarters, the same place where many of these victims were interrogated, tortured, or killed.

Azerbaijan became the first Soviet republic in the Caucasus in 1920, and for many years, the country was ruled from Moscow by non-Azerbaijanis. From the foundation of the republic, political repressions became common as a result of loss of independence and dissatisfaction with the rule of the center.

The Soviet repression policy intensified in the 1930s, and tens of thousands of Azerbaijanis were deported or killed during the period of 1930-1938, at a time when the population of Azerbaijan barely exceeded 3 million.

Azerbaijanis from all parts of society were targeted by these repressions, however a large number of victims belonged to the Azerbaijani army and the intelligentsia – poets, writers, scientists, and academics. This was, of course, hugely destructive of Azerbaijani culture and heritage.

During this period, it was common for people to be labeled as ‘enemies of the nation’ for no particular reason, and no one was exempt from arbitrary punishment.

Deputy Chief of the State Border Service of Azerbaijan, Farhad Taghizada, recounted a childhood memory. He described his surprise while finding his grandparents’ photo album with their graduation photos. In some of the photos, the faces were neatly cut. These faceless figures were group mates that had been subjected to repression, and erasing their faces meant erasing relations with the victims in an attempt to avoid persecution themselves.

Family members, friends, acquaintances, and colleagues of the victims were the first to be persecuted first. The wives of the ‘enemies of the nation’ were exiled with 8 years of imprisonment. Special labor camp - ALZhIR, Akmol Labour Camp for Wives of Traitors of the Motherland, was established in the steppes of Kazakhstan for their sentence.

The initiative for creating a museum was originally put forward by Colonel General Elchin Guliyev, and it was supported by President Ilham Aliyev. In the museum, former cells have been restored to provide an authentic recreation of where many of these atrocities took place. A research group was established to collect information on these victims at the museums and archives.

Inside the museum, there are exhibits dedicated to different categories of victims. For example, one of the spaces is dedicated to victims that were studying in Europe with scholarships from the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. These students, considered intellectual elite, were targeted, and their deaths had a severe impact on the future of Azerbaijan.

Another section is dedicated to the Azerbaijanis deported from their homes in what is now Armenia. On the order of Moscow, between 1948 and 1950, hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis had to leave the native lands where they lived for centuries, and were moved to unfavorable places for living, with many dying along the way, others in a new settlements. This represented ethnic cleansing and another form of repression within the region. This section of the museum offers documentation and testimonies describing this forced resettlement.

Although this is not the first museum dedicated to the topic of state-backed repression, it presents information in a very different manner from other exhibits. All presented information is fact-based, and does not pursue any political conjuncture.

Although the museum is not fully operational, the efforts have already proven to be a success. In addition to the creation of a platform of learning for future generations, the museum and its resources have already helped some find closure and answers to unresolved questions.

Lieutenant General Taghizada described one case where the children, now in their 80s, of two women from ALZhIR were able to uncover details about their mothers. While they were previously scared to discuss the Soviet repressions, coming forward and using the resources of the museum allowed them to recover the memories of their mothers.

Currently, the State Border Service is in the process of recruiting museum staff so working hours are not regular, however, requests to visit can be easily arranged.

Open to the public, the primary intention of the museum is raising awareness, especially for the youth of the country. The museum is working with tour companies to arrange visits for international visitors as well.

To this day, the topic of Soviet repression in Azerbaijan is a sensitive matter. Management of State Border Service hopes that this museum will bring light to this topic, and that the current and future generations can achieve a better understanding of the tragedy that Azerbaijan faced during 20-50s of the last century.

Israel reports 1,150 new COVID-19 cases, 857,977 in total
Israel reports 1,150 new COVID-19 cases, 857,977 in total
Infrastructures co Rimon Group completes TASE IPO
Infrastructures co Rimon Group completes TASE IPO
Israel increases imports of leather goods from Turkey
Israel increases imports of leather goods from Turkey
Loading Bars
Uzbekistan, Tatarstan consider current status of implementation of joint projects
Iran to receive 2nd shipment of covid vaccine from Japan next week
Kazakhstan, Russia talk importance of coordinated efforts
There is no "status" issue as there is no "Nagorno-Karabakh" - Azerbaijani MFA
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens for July 24
Azerbaijan confirms 412 more COVID-19 cases, 125 recoveries
Turkey passes 65 mln-dose mark in COVID vaccinations
Turkmenistan establishes amount of customs duties on export of paper waste
Special Representative of Kazakhstan’s President visits London
Infrastructure projects may be stopped in Georgia - Association of Infrastructure Builders
Hankook Tire to suspend Geumsan plant for 2 days due to coronavirus
Azerbaijan shows footage of Sofulu village of the Jabrayil district (VIDEO)
Azerbaijani gymnast completes performance at 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo
Azerbaijani gymnast performs in vault and parallel bars exercises at 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo
Azerbaijani gymnast demonstrates rings exercise as part of qualifying competitions at 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo
Azerbaijani athlete performs pommel horse exercise as part of competitions at 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo
Azerbaijani gymnast demonstrates 2 more exercises at 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo
Russia reports over 23,900 COVID-19 cases in the past day
Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan talk further expansion of strategic partnership
Iran connecting more population to its nationwide gas network
Azerbaijani gymnast Ivan Tikhonov to perform at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics
Fire extinguished in mined area in Azerbaijan's liberated Khojavand (VIDEO)
Iran battles water shortage in Khuzestan Province as protests increase
Kazakhstan-Pakistan trade down amid COVID-19
Lithuania provides Georgia with AstraZeneca vaccine
Plant for ceramic decorative plates production being built in Turkmenistan's Baherden
Iranian president announces several new water, sewage and electricity projects
Central Bank of Azerbaijan to put short-term notes up for auction
Azerbaijan changes rules for air passenger transportation
Lending to legal entities in real estate sector grows in Azerbaijan
Baku starts issuing state license plates of new series to car owners
Turkmen PETRONAS Charigali opens tender for provision of offshore support vessels
For 30 years, OSCE Minsk Group failed to produce results regarding Karabakh conflict - analyst
S&P affirms Azerbaijan's credit ratings with 'stable' outlook
Georgia starts registration for first dose of Pfizer vaccine
Azerbaijan names places for monuments to famous Azerbaijani pop singer and composer
About 1 mln retirees vaccinated against COVID-19 in Moscow — mayor
Halliburton increases activity across multiple product service lines in CIS
Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market
Halliburton sees 10% increase in completion & production revenue
Ukrainian SkyUp lo launch flights to Uzbekistan’s Navoi
Iran reveals data on transport of basic goods from its ports
Lending to transport, communications sector drops in Azerbaijan
Kazakhstan increases trade with Iran
Iran to face severe shortages of livestock in coming months?
French MPs concerned about what they saw on Azerbaijan's liberated lands (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan Railways subsidiary breaks record for cargo handling via BTK
Turkish Railways looks to implement several transport projects - ministry
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
Situation in Kalbajar sector of Armenian-Azerbaijani border stable - MoD
Georgia eyes completing construction of all international highways by 2030
Uzbekistan, NATO to work on MoU related to prevention of emergencies
Turkey records increase in car exports to Iran
By end of 2021, Azerbaijan to build all power facilities both in Karabakh and in Eastern Zangazur - president
Azerbaijan - country affected by war the most, but money being provided to Armenia - President Aliyev
Kazakhstan's Passenger Transportation JSC opens tender for buildings repair
Uzbekistan reveals COVID-19 data for July 24
Azerbaijan increases imports of grain, legumes from Turkey
Geostat reveals data on China's exports to Georgia
Azerbaijan sees everything - both Khankandi and the corridor, says president
What is logic behind creating status for 25,000 people? - President Aliyev
If Azerbaijan gets offered funds as grant, as Armenia, we won't reject it - President Aliyev
Azerbaijan achieved its goals during war, continues to do so in post-war era - president
Azerbaijan, to some extent, shaping political agenda of Armenia - president
Azerbaijani oil prices rise
Azerbaijan succeeded to have its agenda adopted on border with Armenia - president
Russia to resume air service with Egyptian resorts on August 9
Fact that Charles Michel didn't use “status” and “Nagorno-Karabakh” was very wise - Azerbaijani president
To reach Kalbajar easily, road being built from Goygol across Omar pass - President Aliyev
Our victory smashed all Armenia's ideological foundations - Azerbaijani president
Inflation in Azerbaijan within acceptable range of 4.3 percent - President Aliyev
Azerbaijani shooter joins quest for medals at 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo
Two Azerbaijani judokas drop out of 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo
Foreign exchange reserves in Azerbaijan almost six times higher than external public debt - president
All work done on Azerbaijan's liberated lands - approved, supported by people, president says
Azerbaijani cyclist to take part in 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo
Results of first six months indicate that economy of Azerbaijan already overcame recession - President Aliyev
City of Naftalan should become travel destination - Azerbaijani president
There are concrete plans on dev't of iron ore deposits, which is traditional for ​​Dashkasan - President Aliyev
Azerbaijan’s company opens tender to transport cargo via railway
India's COVID-19 tally rises to 31,293,062
US wants to work with likeminded nations in use of space - General John Raymond
One killed, one injured in light plane crash in Russia’s Far East
Brazil sees 108,732 new COVID-19 cases
EU regulator endorses use of Moderna’s COVID-19 shot for children
Biden authorizes $100 million in emergency funds for Afghan refugees
136 deaths reported in rain-related incidents in India's western Maharashtra State
Biden assures Afghan president of continued U.S. support -White House
6.7-magnitude quake rattles Philippines
Israel reports 1,150 new COVID-19 cases, 857,977 in total
U.S., Russia to hold arms control talks next week
Russia to resume regular air service with three more countries from August 9
Delta variant of COVID-19 now dominant in Europe, says World Health Organization
Azerbaijani units did not take off any UAV into air - MoD
Over 71% of Lebanon's population risks losing access to safe water - UNICEF
Kazakhstan boosts petroleum oil exports to Lithuania
Uzbekistan eyes launching production of ZF-UZ-VAC2001 COVID-19 vaccine
Turkey’s daily COVID-19 cases surpass 10,000
Georgian tea imports from Azerbaijan decrease
U.S. condemns Taliban attacks on former interpreters, Afghans -State Dept
All news