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“Nakhichevan Armenian Community” – the First Form of National-Cultural Autonomy on the Don in 1918–1919

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Abstract. The article discusses for the first time the reasons for the creation of the “Nakhichevan Armenian Community” in 1918, its goals and objectives. It is noted that in 1917 the Armenian component in the bodies of municipal self-government was minimized, which became a reflection of the changed ethnic structure of the population. At the beginning of the XX century the assimilation (Russification) of Nakhichevan Armenians became quite noticeable. The “Nakhichevan Armenian community” was formed in the conditions of revolutionary turmoil and civil war with the goal of “managing cultural life”: 1) care for the enlightenment of Armenians; 2) their charity; 3) concern for their “economic development”; 4) care for local Armenian cultural, educational and charitable institutions and the Armenian press. The article presents the structure of the Community’s governing bodies (Presidium of the Community Council, National Community Council, Council of Elders, External Relations Commission, financial and economic, cultural and educational commissions, the Audit Commission, and the Statistical Bureau). The social status of the members of the administrative body of the Community Council is quite representative – these are mainly representatives of the commercial and financial bourgeoisie, deputies of the Nakhichevan City Council, leaders and teachers of the Theological Seminary and various schools of Nakhichevan and Rostov (majority), priests and other. The author assesses “Nakhichevan Armenian community” as a form of Armenian national-cultural autonomy, which existence was ceased with the establishment of Soviet power on the Don.

Keywords: Nakhichevan Armenian community, Community Council, National Community Council, culture, identity.

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