“Once raised flag never falls!” was the motto of glorious independence movement in Azerbaijan in the beginning of the 20th century, which proclaimed the establishment of Azerbaijani Democratic Republic.
The words written gold in the national history by Mammad Amin Rasulzade, brightest and most prominent political figure of the time, were the major slogan while declaring Azerbaijan’s independence on May 28, 1918.
On this day a temporary National Council of plenipotentiary representatives of the Azerbaijani people — the true elite of the nation, was formed in Tiflis. It was the council headed by Rasulzade.
This historic day entered the history of the Azerbaijani people as a big and significant event. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR), which established the first democratic, legal and secular state in the East, including the Turkic-Islamic world and in the Caucasus as a whole declaring the nation’s independence, demonstrated people’s aspirations for independence.
The Azerbaijani People’s Republic did not lag behind the traditional democratic republics of Europe in terms of its political system, the measures taken for the democratic state structure, as well as its goals and objectives.
The establishment of the ADR played an exceptional role in the subsequent approval of the country in the international arena. The leaders of the ADR not only proclaimed the independence of their homeland, but also managed to turn it into one of the recognized figures of the political world order.
The Parliament of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, throughout its activities, including during the uninterrupted 17-month operation, with its experience in the construction of an independent state, adopted by highly qualified legislative acts and decisions, left a deep and rich trace in the history of Azerbaijani statehood and, especially in the Parliamentary culture of the people.
The role of the ADR in the history of the statehood and socio-political thought of people is invaluable. The measures undertaken by the state for a short period left a large footprint in the history of the nation.
All citizens of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, regardless of their ethnic and religious affiliation, were granted the right to vote. Thus, women gained suffrage for the first time in the Islamic world.
Although the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic lasted only 23 months, it proved that even the most brutal colonial regimes and repressions are not able to destroy the ideals of freedom and the tradition of state independence of the Azerbaijani people.
The Parliament of Azerbaijan conducted activities in a very complicated internal and international historical situation.
To prevent the approaching danger of foreign intervention, the government and the parliament of the ADR did a great job in order to achieve international recognition of the young republic by other states, including the great world powers. In this regard, the Parliament decided to send a special delegation headed by the Chairman of the Parliament Topchubashev, to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.
A delegation of the best representatives of intelligentsia of the time included Mammad Amin Rasulzade, Alimardan bey Topchubashev, Fatali Khan Khoyski, Samad bey Mehmandarov and others. They devoted their lives to establish and immortalize the first independent republic.
ADR leaders played very important role in the foundation of ADR and in Azerbaijan’s history, some of them were killed, forced to emigrate and punished in many different ways for dedicating their lives to the idea of free, secular, democratic and independent Azerbaijan.
Mammad Amin Rasulzade
Mammad Amin Rasulzade, famous Azerbaijan statesman and public figure is one of the founding political leaders of the First Azerbaijani Republic. It was Rasulzade who took an active part in the formation of Democratic Republic and was its ideologist. Exactly during the existence of Democratic Republic national Army was established in Azerbaijan. Rasulzade was also involved in the establishment of the State University in Baku in 1919.
In August 1920, Rasulzade was arrested by the Soviets. It was only due to his earlier support of Stalin that Rasulzade was released and taken from Baku. For the next two years Rasulzade worked as the press representative at the Commissioner on Nations in Moscow. He was seconded to Finland. For the rest of his life, Rasulzade lived in an exile in Poland, Romania and finally after World War II in Ankara, Turkey.
Mammad Amin lived far from his native land, but his soul was always dedicated to his Motherland. Even last word of Rasulzade was: “Azerbaijan”, which he repeated three times.
Fatali khan Khoysky
The first prime minister and one of the founders of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, Fatali khan Khoysky made an immeasurable contribution to the formation and recognition of Azerbaijani statehood.
The paramount importance for him was the issue of preserving the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. At the time the main danger came from neighboring Armenia. He was against interference of other states in the affairs of sovereign Azerbaijan.
Subsequently, while holding the posts of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs or simply an MP, Fatali khan directed all his forces to repulse the Armenian aggression and eliminate its consequences.
After the fall of the ADR and the establishment of Soviet power in Azerbaijan on April 28, 1920, Khoysky was forced to move to Tiflis, where he was killed by Armenians.
Khoysky lived a short but bright life. He was one of the creators of the state, and the existence of today’s Azerbaijan Republic was made possible by the activities of this great personality.
Alimardan bey Topchubashev
Alimardan bey Topchubashev was an outstanding public and state figure. He became well-known as the editor-in-chief of Kaspi newspaper, which was of one of the largest local publications. Then he was elected to the City Duma (Municipal Parliament of Baku).
In early 1919, the official delegation from the Republic of Azerbaijan headed by Topchubashov left for Paris to participate in the Versailles Peace Conference held at the end of World War I. There he played an enormous role in the de-facto Azerbaijani Republic by the Council of Allied Powers in January 1920. However, few months later the communist army took over in Baku, and Topchubashov was never able to return to Azerbaijan. He died on November 8, 1934 in Paris.