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March 16, 2021 marks exactly a century since the signing of the Moscow Treaty between the Kemalists and the Bolsheviks, which put an end to Armenians' hope for Western Armenia. Under this agreement, Armenia also lost its territories on the west side of Akhuryan and Araks rivers and the Kars region. In addition, the Moscow Treaty is notorious for the fact  that Armenia lost its main symbol, the  Mount Ararat with the adjacent regions - in exchange for Turkey's renunciation of its claims to the Batumi district. Note that the Surmalinsky district, where Mount Ararat is located, was never part of the Ottoman Empire.

The 100th anniversary of the signing of the treaty was celebrated in the capital of Turkey, Ankara. The conference was called " The Relations between Turkey and Russia on the Centenary Anniversary of the Conclusion of the Moscow Treaty on March 16, 1921", within the framework of which Russian ambassador to Turkey Aleksei Yerkhov made a statement that the formulation  "Treaty of Friendship and Brotherhood" is quite rare in diplomatic practice and "reflects the romantic spirit of that difficult time." He also noted that the agreement contains a number of ideas that sound quite modern and are of significant interest for the development of relations between Russia and Turkey today.

However, this Moscow Treaty, which allowed Turkey to draw its present northeastern border, is in fact illegal and therefore invalid from the point of view of international law.

Here is why: 

According to the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, a treaty is an international agreement concluded between states in written form and governed by international law. A state is a recognized entity that must have a government (elected or appointed - it doesn't matter), but it must be internationally recognized as a government of that state. Representatives approved by this recognized government must participate in the signing of the contract. Otherwise, people can gather in any administrative-territorial unit and proclaim themselves as the government of the country, and some of them can proclaim themselves as authorized to sign international treaties and other documents.

At the moment of the signing of the Moscow Treaty, Soviet (Bolshevik) Russia was not recognized by any country of the world. The Kemalist government of Turkey, precisely  the Great National Assembly headed by Ataturk, was also not recognized by anyone - Sultan Mehmed VI (reigned July 3, 1918 - November 1, 1922) was the only officially recognized power. In fact and nominally, the Kemalists were considered as a rebel movement at that time.

It is also important to note that this treaty was always called "Kemalist-Bolshevik" and not "Turkish-Russian" in the professional press of the 1920s. Just in the preface of the treaty, it is written "Government of the Turkish Grand National Assembly",  which once again emphasizes the invalidity of the document.

In addition, the Moscow Treaty was condemned as an illegal document, because the two countries decided the fate of the third and fourth countries without their participation. Even if we admit that it were Russia and Turkey that concluded the treaty (and this is not so), nevertheless, this does not give them the right to "draw" the borders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, since these countries were independent socialist republics at that time.

Consequently, the Moscow Treaty was initially concluded as illegall, and this is clearly described in a very important provision - Article 53 of the Vienna Convention (if the treaty contradicts the original provisions, then the treaty is invalid):

By concluding such  agreement with the Kemalists, the Bolsheviks hoped that Turkey would become a fraternal socialist country for them, as opposed to the capitalist camp of the Entente. For this purpose, the Bolsheviks were ready to betray the memory of their ancestors and the national interests of Russia, for which the Turks were enemies for centuries  (remember how many Russian-Turkish wars there were), and also to sacrifice their only allies in the region - the Armenian people, with whom the Russian people had centuries-old historical, cultural, and religious ties. During the time of Tsarist Russia, the Armenians enjoyed such great authority and trust that the Russian kings resettled Armenians there for the reliability and development of the infrastructure of the border territories.

Bolsheviks deprived Armenia of not only significant territories and chances for self-determination (the Kemalist army and the Red Army entered Armenia at the same time), but also of the possibilities of development within the framework of its historical homeland and similarity and of the perspectives of having a strong ally like Russia in the region.

In the end, with this unavoidable strategic solution, the Bolsheviks saved and strengthened their centuries-old enemy, which turned away from the socialistic vector, and turned  their ally Armenia into a weak colony, exchanging coins for greater geopolitical games.

Alas, we see the echoes of this political course until this day. At a conference dedicated to this unfortunate treaty, Russian Ambassador to Turkey A.V. Erkhov was proud to tell how Russia saved Turkey - the very state with which it fought for more than twelve times. Unfortunately, even now, official Moscow does not want to look back at the shameful act of its history.


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