Azerbaijan International

Spring 1998 (6.1)
Page 30


Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan Leaders
Mammad-Yusif Jafarov - Head of Parliament


by Fuad Akhundov

Mammad Yusif JafarovJafarov 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 (present-day Armenia)

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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