Kurdish Republic of Lachin (1992)

The Lachin Kurdish Republic (Kurdish: Komâra Laçîn Kurdî‎; Azerbaijani: Laçın Kürd Respublikası) was self-proclaimed on 20 May, 1992, in Lachin, just two days after this area of Azerbaijan had been captured by Armenian forces and largely emptied of its population as part of the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh War. The idea, essentially a nominal re-institution of the 1920s entity of Red Kurdistan, was floated by the Armenians for whom the Lachin corridor constituted a strategically vital link to Nagorno-Karabakh. However, the area’s small Kurdish population had already fled along with the area’s ethnic Azeri population – most finding refuge in other regions of Azerbaijan. Thus the Kurdish youths and intellectuals (around seventy people in total) who set up the Republic were specially transported to Lachin from Armenia in buses provided by Yerevan’s municipal government. The scene was described as looking more like a wedding celebration than the proclamation a state.

Beyond the republic’s declaration by these two busloads of visitors, no real state emerged and rather than populating the area with Kurds, Lachin was partly repopulated over time with Armenians.

The republic’s Prime Minister, Wekîl Mustafayev had, according to press releases, “worked as a senior KGB officer in Central Asia during the days of the Soviet Union. He had been born into a family that had been exiled to Uzbekistan. His wife was serving as an officer in the Soviet military.” Sheref e Eshir was declared Deputy Prime Minister, while other cabinet positions included Karlan e Chachani as declared Minister of Culture and Emerike Serdar as Minister of Information. Five years later Serdar was quoted as saying “We all knew full well that the Armenians were never going to give us that land, and that we were never going to be able to convince the Kurds to come and settle in the land depopulated because of the war. But we went to Lachin to leave a marker for history.”

After the failure of the Republic, Wekîl Mustafayev moved to Krasnodar and later took refuge in Italy.


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