There has been a tremendous response in the region to the first film in the series of the historical documentary cycle "An Alternative History of Armenia and Azerbaijan", the author of which is the head of section in the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration, political scientist Fuad Axundov [Akhundov]. Scientific consultant of the film is the director
of the Center for History of the Caucasus, associate professor of the Branch of
UNESCO, historian Rizvan Huseynov.
This cycle of films is a joint project of the Caucasus History Centre attached to the "AZER-GLOBE" Institute and the ATV television company. The project is being implemented within the framework of the "Information support for the Armenian public" project, which is aimed at bringing to the Armenian and wider world public alternative information on the history of the region.
The presentation of the first film in the cycle took place in Tbilisi in the building of Azerbaijan's embassy in Georgia there, and was a landmark occasion since approximately 90 representatives of Georgian science, public figures and the media attended the event.
It is not accidental that the 29 May was chosen since the presentation was timed to mark the 97th anniversary of the three South Caucasus republics' independence.
On 26 May 1918, when the Transcaucasus Seim in Tiflis [now Tbilisi] took the decision to dissolve itself, Georgia was declared an independent state. On 28 May in Tbilisi the National Council of Azerbaijan declared the creation of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic (ADR) in the Muslim East. On that day, 28 May, in its turn, the Armenian faction in the Seim announced the creation of the Ararat Republic, which did not however have either territory or population. The fact is that in no single district or police precinct in Transcaucasia did the Armenians make up the majority of the population. In these circumstances, they were calculating on announcing the city of Aleksandropol (Gyumri) or Tbilisi as the capital of the newly created state. As a result, the choice of the Armenian side fell upon the Azerbaijani city of Erivan. Consequently, the European powers, Russia and the USA, started to bring unprecedented pressure to bear on the Azerbaijani Republic's government, demanding that the Erivan be transferred to the Ararat Republic as its capital.
As a result, on 29 May 1918, at the sitting of the National Council of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic the decision was adopted to hand over Erivan and other territories to the Armenians in exchange for Dashnak Armenia stopping the massacre of the Azerbaijani population on these lands. But not only did the Dashnak government fail to keep its word, but, on the contrary, after it had moved to Yerevan, it organised mass pogroms and the murder and expulsion of the Azerbaijani population from the territory of the Ararat Republic.
"The decision to hand over Erivan and the other territories to the Armenians took place here in Tbilisi, and we have timed the presentation of this film to coincide with this date as well. Our aim is to offer the wider foreign public the opportunity to reflect upon the Caucasus' history and the state of Armenian historiography," the film's author said.
He said that '"An Alternative History of Azerbaijan and Armenia' would be a good aid to those interested in the history of the region and the reasons for the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. We are presenting original documents in the film, inter-state treaties, and not someone's opinions and conclusions, thereby presenting the viewer with the opportunity to analyse it for themselves and form their own opinion of the historical events. These documents include the decrees of the Russian emperors Peter I [Peter the Great], Peter II, Pavel I and other politicians relating to Azerbaijan's territories in the Caucasus," F. Axundov said.
He expressed particular gratitude to the Georgian National Museum for making it possible to see for himself and film the unique archive materials and objects of material culture relating to Azerbaijan in the Middle Ages. It should also be noted that materials from the Russian State Military History Archives and the Russian Federation Foreign Policy Archives and so forth were used in the film.
Unique documents were shown in the film for the first time, in particular the Russian-Ottoman treaty of 1724 on the partitioning of Azerbaijan and the Iranian territories. The Caucasus History Centre and ATV film crew were shown the Ottoman archives for the first time and were permitted to film the original Ottoman treaty as well as other documents.
The first film from the cycle "An Alternative History of Armenia and Azerbaijan" is to be shown on a number of Azerbaijani and foreign TV channels. The film script will appear on the Internet in Azeri, English and other languages. Several series in the cycle devoted to various historical topics and the falsification of them are currently being worked on.
The speakers at the presentation particularly noted the unique nature of the archive documents, maps and photographs which were shown to the wider public for the first time and allowed them take a new look at the historical processes in the region.
Researched documentaries of this kind are very important for popularising the history of the region and Azerbaijan," Azerbaijan's ambassador to Georgia, Azar Huseyn, said, after noting that "film is quite an easy and accessible way of exposing the historical falsification perpetrated by Armenian scholars on the Caucasus and of exposing the territorial claims of the Armenian nationalists as unfounded".
The diplomat spoke highly of the projects carried out under the management of political scientist Fuad Axundov, as well as of the scientific studies conducted by the Caucasus History Centre attached to the "AZER-GLOBE" Institute.
In the view of Professor Guram Markhulia, a historian from Georgia's Sukhumi University, Fuad Axundov's film offers the opportunity to learn about alternative information on the historical processes in the Caucasus from an Armenian point of view. At last, Armenian scholars and society will be able to see how and under what circumstances Armenian statehood was created in the Southern Caucasus in the 20th century. According to the professor, it is precisely Armenian nationalism that is not permitting peace to be achieved in the region, and one of the main threats to stability is the unresolved Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict in Nagornyy Karabakh, which is part of the territory of sovereign Azerbaijan.
The Georgian historian Mamuka Gogetidze described the film as "very interesting" and expressed the hope that more films would be made in the series. "The fact is that this is a timely response in which truthful and authentic sources from the archives of different countries have been collected together. Our Armenian neighbours and 'their friends' should learn the truth about their history. I think that some representatives of the Armenian public will try to deny these facts. We, Georgian scholars, should bring this truth to the Armenian public and explain it, and I think that sooner or later they will understand it," the Georgian scholar said. Professor Indira Dzagania agreed with him: "The film is very interesting and for me, as a scholar, there are many interesting facts and archive materials, which I had not known about previously."
"Thanks to this film, in the future we will effectively be able to prove to Armenian colleagues that authentic history cannot be changed and denied. This film is a successful example of Azerbaijan's new policy in breaking through the information blockade to the Armenian public. We often attend scientific conferences in different countries, and this film as a visual aid will allow us to put in their place the Armenian nationalists who have moved too far away from scholarship. You see, it is very convenient and effective to show a ready-made film, which provides a brief and undisputable response to the numerous fabrications of the Armenian side."
The linguist Academician Bondo Arveladze, the ethnographer Professor Tina Ivleashvili and other Georgian scholars expressed the desire that "An Alternative History of Armenia and Azerbaijan" should be shown in various Georgian institutions of higher education, to students and to the public at large. In their view, it may become an important aid in bringing the true postulates of the history of the Caucasus and the Armenian issue to different strata of society in countries throughout the world.
We would like to note that the Caucasus History Centre attached to the "AZER-GLOBE" Institute is conducting a number of research projects to study the history of Azerbaijan. Articles and books are being published within the framework of these studies and films are being made on the history of Azerbaijan and the Armenian falsifications of the history of the Caucasus.
Unique film footage, the opinions of Russian and Armenian politicians, scholars and public figures have been brought together in "An Alternative History of Armenia and Azerbaijan" and rare documents on the history of Azerbaijan from Russian, Turkish, and Georgian archives are being shown to the public at large for the first time. The head of the Human Rights Monitoring Group of Ethnic Minorities of Georgia, Elbrus Mammadov, rendered active support in creating the film.
The first film in the cycle "An Alternative History of Armenia and Azerbaijan" was well received in the Azerbaijani, Georgian and other media. In particular, Georgian Public TV, one of the most read Georgian newspapers "Saerto gazeti", the "Kvira" news agency, Apsny.ge, Kavkazplus.com and others devoted reports to coverage of the new film. The Azerbaijani TV channels AzTV, ATV, Azerbaijan Public TV (ITV), ANS, CBC, AZERTAC news agency, Interfax-Azerbaijan, the Day.az, Vesti.az, Haqqin.az, Regionplus.az, Sputnik Russian news agency, MIA "Rossiya", SMI-2 and others circulated reports on the film.
The foreign media and foreign scholars expressed the need to render support in circulating the first and subsequent films in the cycle "An Alternative History of Armenia and Azerbaijan". It was particularly noted that it was important to show the film not only in Georgia and Azerbaijan, but also in Armenia, Russia, Turkey, Iran and the countries of Europe and America.