'Paris archive' by Topchibashi presented at ADA University

'Paris archive' by Topchibashi presented at ADA University

Four volumes of the 'Paris archive’ (1919-1940) by Alimardan Topchibashi was presented at ADA University in Baku today. The books were published by the Moscow publishing house ‘Khudozhestvennaya Literatura’ with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.

The presentation was attended by rector of the ADA Hafiz Pashayev, compilers, authors of foreword and notes, translators Georgi Mamulia and Ramiz Abutalybov, as well as science editor Ismail Agakishiev.

The first volume tells about Topchibashi's activities in Paris in 1919-1921, The second volume contains information from Paris archival documents and materials about Alimardan Topchibashi’s political activity in the Azerbaijani diplomatic delegation, which he led during the Paris Peace Conference. The third volume contains documents and materials concerning the activities of Topchibashi as the head of the Azerbaijani diplomatic delegation in France and other Azerbaijani organizations during the immigration in 1924-1930. 

The fourth volume contains documents and materials concerning last years of Topchibashi's life and activities of his successors in 1935-1940, when radical changes occurred in the life of Caucasian migrants in Europe due to non-aggression pact between France and the USSR and accession of the USSR to the League of Nations. Documents on the Azerbaijani delegation's work in Paris in 1935-1940 were preserved thanks to Alimardan Topchibashi's son, Alekper Topchibashi, who became secretary of the delegation in 1936. 

As Georgy Mamulia noted in his speech, the four-volume book focuses on Alimardan Topchibashi's political work. "His archive is huge, we have published less than 3% of all Paris documents, based primarily on the need to show Alimardan Topchibashi as a political figure during the 1919-1920 Paris Peace Conference and as one of the leaders of the Azerbaijani emigration. The archive is interesting because of Topchibashi's personality," he said.

"We tried not to miss any significant political document. We made translations from French into Russian, deciphered certain texts. Nevertheless, we successfully completed our work and presented the Paris archive of 1919-1940 by Alimardan Topchibashi," Georgi Mamulia added.

"Alimardan Topchibashi was a leader who put the Caucasian unity on the forefront. He understood that Azerbaijan as one of the Caucasian republics is not able to keep independence apart from its neighbors. He had the best relations with Georgians and North Caucasians, it is evident from the published documents. He tried to do everything possible to attract Armenians to this cooperation, unfortunately, he didn't always succeed, but in any case, it is clear that he understood that the 1919-1920 conflicts could threaten the realization of his most cherished dream - the restoration of the independence of the Caucasus," the historian said.

"Once again, many thanks to the distinguished audience, especially I want to thank the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, which financed our research and did everything to return the heritage of Alimardan Topchibashi to Azerbaijan and the Caucasus," George Mamulia concluded.

Historian Sevinj Aliyeva stressed that the four-volume 'Paris Archive' has become a world treasure. "This work earned reviews in Poland, Great Britain and Russia. This is a colossal work, including more than 100 documents of strategic importance, indicating that our emigration sought to consolidate all the peoples of the Caucasus. It was not easy. They negotiated with Armenians, Georgians and highlanders. The unification of the Caucasus was the most important, because it was necessary to fight together with the common Bolshevik threat," she recalled.

"Alimardan Topchibashi honorably represented our country, defended its interests abroad. Each document is a whole separate story, which requires comments, long historical work. These are valuable sources that bear the indelible stamp of their era. Once again I congratulate everyone," Sevinj Aliyeva summed up.

Senior scientist at the History and Economy department of the ANAS Institute of Eastern Studies Solmaz Rustamova-Tohidi said that the life of Alimardan Topchibashi is Paris was hard. "It was one of the first statesmen who preserved the archive, understanding the importance of archives," the historian noted, praising the role of Ramiz Abutalybov and Georgi Mamulia in the publication of this archive.

"All the archives by Alimardan Topchibashi were translated from French to Russian by Georgi Mamulia. I want to emphasize the role of Ramiz Abutylabov, who, despite his age, continues to work and preserve the history of Azerbaijan. In general, these are not just books, but part of the sacred history of our country," Solmaz Rustamova-Tohidi said.

Alimardan Topchibashi was the Speaker of the Parliament of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the first deputy of the Russian State Duma, an Azerbaijani politician and diplomat. After the February Revolution of 1917 he led the Azerbaijan National Committee.

After the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was proclaimed, he became the ambassador to Armenia, Georgia and the Ottoman Empire, and later became the minister of foreign affairs. He headed the delegation of the Republic at the Paris Peace Conference. But after the Bolshevik takeover of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic he decide to stay in Paris, where he died on November 8, 1934.

The compilers, the authors of foreword and notes, translators are Georgi Mamulia and Ramiz Abutalybov, science editor - professor Ismail Agakishiev. The authors expressed their gratitude to Solmaz Rustamova-Togidi, Adalat Tagirzade, Pavel Libere, Eldar Ismayilov and Omer Ozcan for valuable consultations and provided information.