Spring 1998 (6.1)
Republic of Azerbaijan Leaders
Jafarov - Head of Parliament
by Fuad Akhundov
Jafarov was born in 1885 in Baku. After
receiving his secondary education in Baku, he entered Moscow
University and graduated from the Faculty of Law in 1912. He
was elected to the State Duma of Russia on October 1912, where
he was the only parliamentarian representing the Azerbaijani
population of Baku, Elizavetpol (Ganja) and Yerevan provinces
For almost five years (1912-1917), as a member of the Russian
Parliament, Jafarov was among those most active in efforts to
abolish religious restrictions of the Moslem population of the
Russian Empire, and one of the most outspoken advocates for the
indigenous inhabitants of Central Asia who were suppressed by
settlers from other parts of the Empire.
After Duma, Jafarov pushed for a local administrative government
for the Caucasus. Despite the fact that he was one of the youngest
members of the Russian Parliament, Jafarov managed to gain the
high esteem of his colleagues, and was known as a capable lawyer,
an excellent speaker and a person with strong views and convictions.
During WWI, as a member of the ad hoc committee of the Duma for
field hospitals, Jafarov spent much of his time on the Caucasian
front, organizing relief for the civilian victims of war.
The collapse of the Russian Empire (October 1917) and the subsequent
foundation of independent states in Transcaucasia constituted
a new stage of Jafarov's public activities. He became the Minister
for Trade and Industry in the first Azerbaijani Cabinet of Khoyski
in May of 1918. Then for almost a year, he was assigned to the
Azerbaijan Diplomatic Mission in Georgia.
In March 1919, he was offered the post of Azerbaijan Foreign
Minister in the Cabinet of Yussifbeyli. Later on, between February
and April 1920, Jafarov was named Acting Chairman of the Parliament
of the Azerbaijan Republic.
On April 27, 1920, when the troops of the Soviet Army (11th Red
Army) entered Baku, Jafarov, as the Head of Parliament, signed
the "Act on Resignation and Non-Resistance to the Communists,"
in order to prevent bloodshed. This document resulted in the
dissolution of the first Azerbaijan Republic. During later years,
Jafarov worked as a legal adviser in various Soviet offices in
Baku. He died in March 1938, prior to the scourge against early
nationalists carried out by Stalin.
From Azerbaijan International (6.1) Spring 1998.
© Azerbaijan International 1998. All rights reserved.
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