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THE UDIS AS VICTIMS OF THE AZERBAIJANI PROPAGANDA

THE UDIS AS VICTIMS OF THE AZERBAIJANI PROPAGANDA

As you know, from the very moment of gaining independence, in the state of Azerbaijan, the main state ideology that closely tied both the people of Azerbaijan and the legitimacy of the country's President Ilham Aliyev and his family became Armenophobia. The creation of an external enemy in the face of Armenia and the Armenian people, opposing itself to this enemy and ascribing all the internal and foreign policy problems to the latter has been helping the Aliyev dynasty to retain the power in the country for many years.

It is not a secret for anyone that the victory of Azerbaijan in the war was a matter of life and death for the ruling regime, and only the positive outcome of the war could save their situation, given the degree of discontent of the people over their suffering from unemployment and the economy that heavily relies on oil.

After the transfer of most of the lands of Artsakh under the control of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, one could expect that the government of the country would do everything to prove the alleged arrival of Armenians to these “primordially Azerbaijani” territories. But how to prove the Azerbaijani legal possession of these lands from a historical point of view, if most of the remaining monuments are Christian monuments? This problem was solved in the following way: they classified all Christian churches on the territory of Artsakh as Albanian, and Azerbaijanis as descendants of Albanians, who later adopted Islam and Turkic identity.

Moreover, in Azerbaijan, a small community of the Udis (also Udi or Uti) was “reserved” for such cases. The Udis are part of the large Albanian ethnic group that has survived to this day, still worshiping Christinity. Very comfortable, indeed. After all, the whole heritage of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Armenian people can be ascribed to the Udis with the wave of a wand.

But the reader may quite logically pose the question: is not the Azerbaijani regime afraid that the Udis will start  to demand very specific rights and freedoms and, God forbid, want national autonomy?

The Aliyev regime, fervently agitating the unity of the Azerbaijani nation, does not even care. This country has long solved this problem already. After the February Revolution of 1917 and the emergence of the state called Azerbaijan a year later, only one out of the numerous Udi villages of the former Baku Governorate still remains populated, where a little more than three thousand people live. For comparison, the population of Udis was 10 thousand people at the end of the 19th century, in 1880.

The Udis are a nation considered to be the direct descendants of the population of ancient Caucasian Albania. From the 4th century AD, the Udis profess Christianity, thus being one of the most ancient (after Armenians and Georgians) Christian nations.  

In addition to the assimilation of the autochthonous population and the destruction of the Udi villages, the Aliyev regime completely disconnected the Udi community from its history, eradicating the century-old relationship with the Armenian people and the canonical unity with the Armenian Apostolic Church, under the auspices of which the Albanian Church was formed and developed further.

It is noteworthy that, despite the attempts of official Azerbaijan to transfer the Udi from the bosom of the Armenian Apostolic Church (ancient Oriental Orthodox Church) to the bosom of the Russian Orthodoxy, it did not work, and, being left alone, the Udi community was forced to remain outside the church.

Aghvan (Udi) alphabet, created by the Armenian scholar, missionary and monk Mesrop Mashtots. Discovered in 1937 in an Armenian manuscript of the 15th century, a decipherment of the writing, based on sources found later, was published in 2009. Armenian chronicler of the 5th century Koryun reports that the Agvan alphabet was created (or recreated) by the Armenian illuminator and missionary Mesrop Mashtots with the help of Bishop Ananias and translator Benjamin in the early 420s, after the Christianization of Caucasian Albania. 

Thus, now there is an active autonomization of the Albanian Church and the Udi community, and the Armenians are presented as aggressors infringing on the Udi material and spiritual culture. The mouthpiece of the authorities in this case is the official representative and the Director of the Albanian-Udi community in Azerbaijan, Robert Mobili. In particular, after the surrender of Karvachar, on the territory of which the ancient Armenian monastery Dadivank (which the Azerbaijanis call Khudaveng) was located, Mobili made the following statement:

“As a representative of the Albanian-Udi Christian community of Azerbaijan and as a geologist, I can fully confirm that this is a purely Albanian church. This church has nothing to do with Armenian churches. As a bearer of the cross of the Albanian church, I can confidently say that this church is purely Albanian, because building materials, binding elements, elements of the cross, symbols and architecture are different from Armenian churches."

Of course,  this quote may seem absurd for historians and specialists in the Ancient East and the Caucasus, but, unfortunately, this is how the modern Armeniaphobic policy works in Azerbaijan. It is ironic how the true aggressors and advocates of assimilation set the arrows to the direction of those under the auspices of which the religious and cultural life of the Aghvans (Caucasian Albanians) has been developing for many centuries.

The video below shows an Azerbaijani propaganda report about the monastery.

Of course, it is difficult to blame the small community of one of the oldest Christian ethnic groups in the Caucasus - the Udis - for the fact that the Aliyev regime uses them for its political goals. Who, if not the Armenians, are perfectly familiar with the policy of Azerbaijan regarding national minorities. However, it is important to highlight that under no circumstances should the Armenian people and official Armenia yield to Azerbaijani provocations while we should respect the Udis who were held hostage by the Aliyev regime. We also call on all Udis living in the diaspora to actively promote the study of their history and culture, to interact with their compatriots in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, and forbid politicians from dividing the already small Udi community. After all, the policy of assimilation has not stopped and at such a pace the time will inexorably lead to the disappearance of this small nation, and all the historical and cultural heritage under the control of Azerbaijan will become "ancient Azerbaijani.

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