Spring 1998 (6.1)
of Azerbaijan Leaders
- Prime Minister
by Fuad Akhundov
The first Prime Minister of
the Azerbaijan Republic and the head of three Cabinets of Ministries,
Fatali Khoyski was born on December 7, 1875, in Shaki (a city
in northwest Azerbaijan), to the noble family of Iskandar Khoyski,
a general-lieutenant in the Russian Army.
The distinguished ancestry of the Khoyski family goes back to
the khans (royal title) of Khoy, a city in Iran, which became
the root for this family name. However, after the wars between
Russia and Persia, the family moved to Shaki.
A number of high-ranking officers, educators and famous public
figures originated from the Khoyski family and Fatali was one
of them. He received his initial education at the Classic High
School (gymnasia) in Ganja, and later graduated from the Faculty
of Law at Moscow University in 1901. As a lawyer and judge in
various parts of the Caucasus, he was subsequently promoted to
Deputy Prosecutor of the District Court.
In February 1907, Khoyski was elected to the Second Russian Duma
(Parliament). As a member of the Moslem section, Khoyski advocated
the removal of political and civil restrictions based on religion
or faith. Khoyski was closely affiliated with to the Party of
Constitutional Democrats, which was very influential in Russia.
However in June 1907, the Second Duma was dissolved by the Royal
Decree of Czar Nicholas II. For almost ten years, Khoyski held
the post of barrister at the District Courts of Baku and Ganja.
His return to politics coincided with the abdication of the Russian
czar in February 1917.
Although Khoyski himself never belonged to any political party,
he was among those who demanded Azerbaijan's autonomy at the
"Musavat" Congress, an influential Azerbaijani national
party initiated in October 1917, immediately following the communist
coup in Petrograd (St. Petersburg).
In December 1917, Khoyski was elected to the Transcaucasian Seym
(Parliament) and was appointed Minister for Justice in the Government
of the Transcaucasian Federation. In May 1918, following the
collapse of the federation and the foundation of the independent
Azerbaijan Republic (May 1918), Khoyski became the first Prime
Minister and headed three Cabinets of Ministries until April
1919. Later, he held the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs.
As Prime Minister, Khoyski became a staunch supporter for the
establishment of the Azerbaijan State University (founded in
1919). He flatly refused offers from Soviet Russia to initiate
a second front against General Denikin, who was combating communists
in the Northern Caucasus. However, he also rejected Denikin's
proposals to form an alliance against the Soviets.
Khoyski was also known as an excellent public speaker. His famous
phrase "Our right to live as a free nation is indisputable"
became one of the mottoes of the Azerbaijan Republic of 1920.
When the Communists took control of Baku in April 1920, Khoyski
moved with his family to Tbilisi, where he was assassinated by
Armenian terrorists on June 19, 1920.
From Azerbaijan International (6.1) Spring 1998.
© Azerbaijan International 1998. All rights reserved.
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