ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The former president of a short-lived Kurdish republic known as Lachin was buried on Friday in the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan Region.
Born in 1934, Wekil Mustafayev passed away on April 19 in Brussels at the age of 85. His body was later received in the Kurdistan Region by several Kurdish political leaders and was then laid to rest in a ceremony in Erbil, as he requested in his will.
The little-known Kurdish republic was a Soviet administrative unit that first existed for six years from 1923 to 1929 and briefly re-emerged in another form in the 1990s. It was also called Red Kurdistan or Kurdistansky Uyezd and was part of Soviet Azerbaijan. Its administrative center was in Lachin.
On April 8, 1929, the Uyezd was dissolved and on May 30, 1930, Kurdistan Okrug was founded in its place. The Okrug included the territory of former Uyezd and also the Zangilansky District and a part of Dzhebrailsky District.
The Okrug was believed to have been created by Soviet authorities in order to attract the sympathies of Kurds in neighboring Iran and Turkey and take advantage of Kurdish movements in those countries. However, due to protests of the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was concerned that open support of a Kurdish movement could damage relations with Turkey and Iran, the Okrug was liquidated on July 23, 1930.
In 1992, after the capture of Lachin by Armenian forces during the Nagorno-Karabakh War, Lachin was declared in Armenia by Kurds led by Mustafayev.
After the dissolution of the republic, most of the Kurds in Lachin moved to other Azerbaijani areas, with Mustafayev fleeing to Italy.
“He dedicated all his life for the freedom of the Kurdish people,” Mustafayev’s nephew Bahaddin told Kurdistan 24 while standing next to the grave in Erbil.
“He was very happy to see the Kurdistan independence referendum taking place in the region,” he added.
Editing by John J. Catherine