Mammad Amin Rasulzadeh: Nazi Supporter, Azerbaijani Hero


Mammad Amin Rasulzadeh is perceived in Azerbaijan as a father of Azerbaijani nationalism, the founder of the First Azerbaijani Republic. Rasulzadeh is considered a political father and ideologist by the Azerbaijani main opposition parties, particularly, ”Musavat” and ”Popular Front”. Although Rasulzadeh is a sourse of great inspiration for the Azerbaijani society, some episodes from his biography are intentionally ignored in Azerbaijan, while sometimes those episodes are openly rejected. This particularly referes to Rasulzadeh’s  close cooperation with Nazi Germany during the Second World War.

Mammad Amin Rasulzadeh led the Azerbaijani National Council since May 27, 1918, which declared the independence of Azerbaijan adapting corresponding declaration on May 28. Already on November 19, he led the decision about the formation of the Azerbaijani parliament. Rasulzadeh is also an idiological father of ”Musavat” party, which he led since 1913, as well as one of the main idiologist of Azeerbaijani independence, who authored «Bir kərə yüksələn bayraq bir daha enməz!» expression (translated as “The flag once raised will never fall”), which is one of the main slogans of Azerbaijani nationalists.

After sovietization of Azerbiajan in 1920, Rasulzadeh went underground, then moved to Russia (he had quite close conections with Stalin), then to Europe. In the years of emmigration, he continued his social-political activities. In 1922, he formed the foreign bureau of ”Musavat” party in Turkey and made efforts to unite emmigrant Azerbaijanis. He established some newspapaers and magazines  (”Yeni Qafqasiya” (‘’New Caucasus”), ”Azeri Türkü” (”Azeri Turk”), ”Odlar yurdu” (”The land of Fires”) ”Bildiriş” (”Notification”). Because of gradual deterioration of the relations with  Rasulzadeh, as well as some warming of Russian and Turkish relations in that period, Ataturk deported him from Turkey in 1931. He moved to Poland, then resides in Romania.

Still before the Second World War, in 1930s, Rasulzadeh, who was engaged in the administrative affairs of Caucasus Emmigration, established connections with the Germans  (according to some sources with the German intelligence) and was also in Berlin. It is nothworthy that after the invasion of the German forces to Romania, the German embassy in in Bucharest informed the Romanian police about Rasulzadeh’s involvement in the German service, asking to issue  documents for multiple entries to Germany.

In the May of 1942, Rasulzadeh was invited to Berlin by the Germans to take part in the conference of the Caucasus Emmigrants. Rasulzadeh, tasked by the German command, was directly involved in the recruitment of Azerbaijani war prisoners and volunteers, as well as in the formation of Azerbaijani legion.  Other deported Musavat party members, such as  former Minister of Internal Affairs of the First Republic of Azerbaijan Khalil Khasamedov, Nagy Sheikhzamanli, the head of the anti-revolutionary organization of Azerbaijani special service, Shafi Rustambeili, Fuad Emirjan were also involved in this.

Moreover, according to some archived documents, Rasulzadeh, using his connections, also helped the German Intelligence to transfer saboteurs to the back of the Red Army (Mozdok, Taganrog).

On May 1943 a reception on the 25th annsiversary of the declaration of Azerbaijan’s independence was organized by Rasulzadeh in Berlin ”Kaiserhof ” luxurious hotel, where German officials and scientific circles also participated in addition to Azerbaijani political actors. The organization of such a representative event in the German capital in the hot period of war, proves  Rasulzadeh’s warm connections and close cooperation with German authorities .

During the whole period of the Second World War, being engaged in the close cooperation with Nazis, Rasulzadeh looked for opportunities to restore Azerbaijani independence. But Germans, made him realize that the independent Azerbaijan was not in accordance with the  plans of Nazi Germany and in 1943, Rasulzadeh left Berlin, returning to Romania, then to Turkey. It is nothworthy, that in 1947 using his connections, he brought to Turkey about 4000 Azerbaijanis, who served in the Third Reich, thus saving them from being handed over to the USSR.

Rasulzadeh died in 1955, and was buried in Cebeci Asri cemetery in Ankara.

Heroization of Rasulzadeh

Although Rasulzadeh, until the second half of 1943, was in an active cooperation with Nazi Germany, in the period of Azerbaijan’s independence his image became a source of inspiration, becoming a national hero. Moreover, the government had made certain efforts  in the heroization of Nazi supporter Rasulzadeh. On December 29, 1993, Heydar Aliyev signed the order about ”The organization of Azerbaijan’s outstanding, social-political actor M. E. Rasulzadeh’s 100th anniversay”, while his son Ilham Aliyev, on 22 November, 2013, signed the order about ”The organization of Mammad Amin Rasulzadeh’s 130th anniversary” celebrating it at the state level.

The stamps were issued on Rasulzadeh’s 110th (in 1994) and 130th (in 2014) anniversaries.  Rasulzadeh was pictured on 1000 manat banknote issued in 1993.

There is not only a street named after Mammad Amin Rasulzadeh but also a residence in the suburbs of Baku, Besides, Mammad Amin Rasulzadeh’s statues today stand in his native Novkhani, Zakatala, and his bust in Gandzak.

Taking into consideration the heroization of Rasulzadeh in Azerbaijan, the accusations of Baku about ”heroization of Fascism” addressed to Armenia are more than senseless. The Azerbaijani propaganda ignores Rasulzadeh’s connections with Hitler German leadership, his efforts to recruit Azerbaijanis, the establishment of the Azerbaijani legion in every way trying to present the father of the Azerbaijani nationalism only in the positive light as ”an examplary” image.

Thus, the accusations of  Azerbaijani leadership as well as the media addressed to the Armenians, particularly the distortion of Garegin Nzhdeh’s activities and his connections with Nazis are just another attempt to spread anti-Armenian moods. Moreover, the Azerbaijanis forget that some of the founders of Azerbaijan’s First Republic, including  Rasulzadeh, had direct connetctions with the leadership of  Third Reich, participated in the establishment of Azerbaijani legions, popular for their cruelty.

Anna Chichyan

Նկարի մեկնաբանություն

The protest of Musavat Party members in Novkhani, near Rasulzadeh‘s statue, 31 January, 2016

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