The Lankaran Massacres
In mid-March 1918, the Bolshevik units were sent from Baku by sea to disarm the Muslim Savage Division in Lankaran.The operation was spearheaded by the Armenian National Council.
The Bolshevik soldiers destroyed and plundered every Muslim village on their way. Astara was destroyed by the Bolshevik gunfire; the majority of people were forced to leave their houses. The villages between Gizilaghaj and Lankaran on the Caspian shore were exposed to bombardment from the steamship Alexander Jandar.
The massacres were launched in January and peaked in March. Before the liberation of Baku by the Ottoman army, the Armenian units numbering two thousand soldiers arrived in Lankaran and ruthlessly punished the local population. They insulted Muslims in eateries, refused to pay for meals, and made them dig trenches to defend from the Ottoman army. The Armenian soldiers entered the mosques during the Muslim holy month of Muharram and interrupted the religious rites. On several occasions, when the Muslims gathered in mosques for religious ceremonies, the Armenians broke into the mosques to burgle the people.
The Armenian criminals destroyed hundreds of dwellings and killed thousands of guiltless people in the uyezd. From January 1918 until suppression of the so-called Molokan Revolt in August 1919, roughly two thousand people were murdered in the province.