V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written on August 9, 1918
Published: First published in 1938 in Krasny Arkhiv No. 4–5. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, page 348.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive.   You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work, as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
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The situation in Baku is still not clear to me.

Who is in power?

Where is Shahumyan?

Inquire of Stalin, and act in the light of all the circumstances; you know that I have complete confidence in Shahumyan. The situation cannot be understood from here, and there is no possibility of giving speedy help.[1]



[1] On July 31, 1918 external pressure and various internal factors brought about the temporary collapse of Soviet power in Baku. On August 1, the Socialist-Revolutionaries, Mensheviks and Dashnaks organised a counter-revolutionary government known as the Dictatorship of the Central Caspian Area. Agents of the Entente, they immediately sent their representatives to Iran to fetch the British, and on August 4 a British force landed in Baku.

In these critical days the Baku Communists were with the masses, explaining the situation and exposing the treacherous policy of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, Mensheviks and Dashnaks; but the Baku Communists lacked the strength and opportunity to bring about any fundamental change in the political situation. On August 12, a Communist conference took the decision to withdraw temporarily to Astrakhan, taking as many arms and as much equipment as possible. A group of Communists was appointed to carry on Party work in Baku.

The plan of evacuation to Astrakhan did not succeed and the leaders of Soviet power in Baku were arrested.

In the middle of September 1918 the Turkish command launched an offensive on Baku. The troops of the Dictatorship of the Central Caspian Area and the British force withdrew, and on the morning of September 15 Turkish troops and Mussavatists entered the city. The previous day a group of Communists had managed to get the Commissars and other Bolsheviks out of prison. They escaped from the city aboard the steamer Turkmen, but on September  17 the crew, which had counter-revolutionary leanings, brought the ship into Krasnovodsk port, where the Socialist-Revolutionaries, Mensheviks and British interventionists were in command. All the members of the Baku Council of People’s Commissars and other Party workers were immediately arrested. On the night of September 19, 1918, twenty-six leaders of the Baku Commune, who have since become known in history as the twenty-six Baku Commissars (S. G. Shahumyan, P. A. Japaridze, M. A. Azizbekov, I. T. Fioletov, Y. D. Zevin, G. N. Korganov, M. G. Vezirov and others), were brutally murdered in the Transcaspian desert by the British interventionists with the direct participation of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks.

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