Map of the Armenian SSR from 1924

Here’s an interesting piece of Soviet Armenian history from my personal archive: an official NEP-era map of the Armenian SSR (then part of the Transcaucasian SFSR) from 1924, as printed on a Soviet-produced postcard:

Map of the Armenian SSR from 1924

Map of the Armenian SSR from 1924, from the personal collection of this writer.

Some notes:

1) In this map, the Armenian SSR is comprised of nine raioni (or districts), some of which are so large that they almost correspond to the modern-day marzer (provinces) of Armenia. By 1989, the Armenian SSR consisted of 38 raioni.

2) The raion that roughly corresponds to the modern Vayots Dzor marz includes the panhandle of the Kalbajar (also known as Karvachar or Shahumyan) region of Karabakh. It also includes part of the Sharur district of Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave.

3) The raion that roughly corresponds to the modern Syunik marz includes significant portions of Karabakh’s Kashatagh region (the former Azerbaijani districts of Lachin, Qubadli, and Zangilan).

4) The Azerbaijani exclaves of Karki, Yukhary Askipara, and Barkhudarly are all entirely part of the Armenian SSR.

5) The Armenian exclave of Artsvashen (which was captured by Azerbaijan during the Karabakh war) is fully connected geographically to Armenia.

6) The Meghri area of Syunik apparently must have been seen as so distinct (or remote) that it was granted its own raion.

7) The Ararat plateau consists of two peaks, Greater Ararat (Masis) and Lesser Ararat (Sis, not to be confused with the “Mount Sis” on Turkey’s Black Sea coast or the “Sis” of Cilicia). On this map, Lesser Ararat is shown as being part of Iran. The entire mountain was later incorporated into Turkey via a territorial exchange with Iran in the 1930s.

8) The city of Gyumri (Գյումրի) is known as Leninakan (Լենինական). During the Tsarist era, it was known as Aleksandropol (Александрополь; Ալեքսանդրապոլ). After the death of Lenin in 1924 (the year in which this map was produced), the city was renamed Leninakan and retained this name until 1990 when it was renamed “Gyumri.”

UPDATE (20 June 2017): Historian Ara Sarafian, executive director of the Gomidas Institute in London, added the following observation: “Note that in this map Turkey is referred to as ‘Dajgasdan’ and not ‘Tourkia’. The term Turkey or ‘Turkiye’ was invented in 1923, when the Kemalists had a country without an actual name.”

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