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Fatali Khan Khoyski : biography

December 7, 1875 - June 19, 1920

Fatali Khan Khoyski Isgender oglu () (December 7, 1875 – June 19, 1920) was an attorney, a member of the Second State Duma of the Russian Empire, Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister of Defense and, later the first Prime Minister of the independent Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.

Political career

Russian Empire

Khoyski was elected a deputy to the Second Duma of Russian Empire from Elisabethpol Governorate. While delivering a speech before the Duma on February 2, 1907, he criticized the Russian colonization policies in Azerbaijan and the Caucasus. Although he was formally registered with Constitutional Democratic Party (known as the Kadets), he also joined the Muslim fraction in Duma. On March 27, soon after the 1917 February revolution in Russia, Khoyski became a member of the Temporary Executive Committee of Muslim National Councils (MNCs). During the first Musavat summit on October 26-31, 1917, Khoyski spoke in favor of autonomy for Azerbaijan. In December 1917, he was elected a member of the newly created Transcaucasian Sejm and subsequently appointed the Minister of Justice of an independent Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic.

Azerbaijan Democratic Republic

On May 28 1918, the republic dissolved and an independent Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was proclaimed. It was the first state ever in the Muslim world to function and be based on principles of republic government. Fatali Khan was put in charge of forming the first cabinet of the republic. ADR stamps published on Khoyski's initiative]]Khoyski served as the Chairman of Cabinet of Ministers and Minister of Internal Affairs. On June 17, 1918 the second government was formed by Khoyski led by Nasib Yusifbeyli. He played a significant role in making alliance with the Turkish government, defeating and removing the Centrocaspian Dictatorship from power in Baku as well as establishing diplomatic ties with other countries as the Foreign Minister. He is also credited for establishing the Azerbaijan State University. During the period of the third government formed by Khoyski, he served as Chairman of the National Council and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan. During his term in office, he succeeded in removing the city names Elisabethpol and restoring the historic name of Ganja and renaming the Karyagino county to Jabrayil province, establishing a multi-party system, printing of Azerbaijani postage stamps and Azerbaijani currency Manat, founding schools and colleges teaching in Azerbaijani. In March 1919, the third government dissolved.

In January, 1920, when the Allied Powers de facto recognized Azerbaijan Democratic Republic,Council of Allied Powers, Georgy Chicherin, the Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs repeatedly mailed Khoyski asking him to open a new front to confront Anton Denikin and his White movement to which Fatali Khan gave negative responses saying ADR would not meddle into internal affairs of Russia. In his fourth last correspondence, Chicherin notified Khoyski about the upcoming invasion of the 11th Red Army of Azerbaijan. Khoyski moved his family to Tbilisi before the Bolshevik Red Army invaded Baku on April 28, 1920.

Early life

Khoyski was born on December 7, 1875 in Shaki to the noble family of Isgender Khoyski, a colonel in the Russian Army.. His great grandfather Jafargulu, the Khan of Khoy was defeated by the Iranian Fatali shah and with his 20,000 army retreated to Echmiadzin. In the 1804-1813 Russo-Persian war, Jafargulu khan sided with Russian Empire and was therefore rewarded by tsar Alexander I by being appointed the Khan of Shaki Khanate and his rank was raised to Lieutenant Colonel.

After receiving his school education at Ganja gymnasium, Fatali Khan studied at the Law Faculty of the Moscow University, from which he graduated in 1901. After the graduation, Khoyski worked as a court lawyer in Ganja, Sukhumi, Batumi, Kutaisi. Once he was appointed Assistant Prosecutor of Yekaterinodar county court, he began to be involved in socio-political activities.


Fatali-khan Khoyski was assassinated in Tiflis on June 19, 1920 by Aram Yerganian as part of Operation Nemesis organised by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. His burial ceremony was arranged by the Persian consulate in Tiflis."Storm over the Caucas: A glance at the Iranian regional relations with the republics of Azerbiajan, Armenia and Georgia in the first period of independence 1917-1921" ( In Persian), Kaveh Bayat, The center for documents and diplomatic history, Tehran 2001, First ed., ISBN 964-361-065-9, p. 410

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