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Alimardan Topchubashov

Deputy of the First State Duma
In office
April 27, 1906 – July 21, 1906

Minister of External Affairs of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
In office
October 6, 1918 – December 7, 1918

Head of the Parliament in absentia of Azerbaijan
In office
December 7, 1918 – December 1919

Born May 4, 1862
Tiflis, Tiflis Governorate, Russian Empire
Died November 8, 1934
Paris, France
Political party Ittifaq al-Muslimin
Spouse(s) Pari Malikova
Children Alakbar Topchubashi
Occupation Lawyer

Alimardan Alakbar oglu Topchubashov (Azerbaijani: Əlimərdan Topçubaşov; May 4, 1862, Tbilisi – November 8, 1934, Paris) was a prominent Azerbaijani politician, foreign minister and speaker of the Parliament of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.

Alimardan bey Topchubashov descended from Ganja branch of famous Topchubashi family and was born in Tiflis (now Tbilisi) in May 4, 1862. After studying at Tiflis Gymnasium, he entered Saint Petersburg University and graduated from the law faculty in 1888. He was offered to remain at University and teach law if he would convert to Christianity, but he refused and returned to the Caucasus, where he worked at several small positions. He married Pari Malikova, daughter of Hasan bey Zardabi, founder of the first Azerbaijani newspaper, Akinchi.

In 1897 oil magnate Zeynalabdin Taghiyev bought Kaspi newspaper and invited Topchibashov to be its editor-in-chief. Starting from that time he was actively involved in politics and quickly became one of the prominent leaders of Azerbaijani and Muslim people of Russian Empire. His main platform was the political equality of all subjects of Russian Crown and the end to discriminations of Turkic and Muslim people. At the brink of the First Russian Revolution Topchubashov was one of the initiators of famous meeting of Azerbaijani intelligentsia and bourgeoisie at Taghiyev’s palace on March 15, 1905. As a result of this meeting a petition was addressed to Tsar asking for:

  • Implementation of local self-governing and new type of courts (jury) in the entire Caucasus
  • Granting of full political rights and freedoms to the Muslim subjects of the Crown
  • Distribution of land to the peasants who lack it
  • Improvement of fabric legislation to include Muslim workers too.

At the same time Topchubashov was one of the founders of Ittifaq al-Muslimin (first political party of Russian Muslims) and organized its three conferences. He headed party’s third conference and became its bureau member and chief of its Law Commission. Later he became the leader of Party's Muslim faction at the Russian State Duma, the new Russian parliament (1906). But after the First Duma was dissolved by Tsar Topchubashov was arrested for three months, lost his right to be ever a parliament member, deprived of his place at Baku Municipality and “Kaspi” newspaper.

During this time Iran invited him to head one of the departments of Iranian Ministry of Justice and reform its judiciary system, but Topchubashov rejected this offer and remained in Russian Empire to continue his struggle for emancipation of Muslim population.

After the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was proclaimed on May 28, 1918 Topchubashov became its ambassador to Armenia, Georgia and the Ottoman Empire, and was sent to Istanbul. Then he was made minister of foreign affairs at the second cabinet and was elected the head of the Parliament in absentia on December 7, 1918, thus becoming second head of state of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, after Mammed Amin Rasulzade. Receiving to head Azerbaijani Delegation at Versailles Conference, he left Istanbul for Paris.

At the conference, he managed to meet US President Woodrow Wilson and achieved the de facto recognition of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in January 1920. But after the Bolshevik takeover of ADR he could not return and stayed in Paris, where he died on November 8, 1934.




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