Division commander Vezirov

Division commander Vezirov

Anna Demchenko exclusively to Vestnik Kavkaza


Gambai Mamed Ogly Vezirov was born on August 19, 1899, in Nakhichevan or Alexandropol, according to other sources (today Gumri). He graduated from the Erevan gymnasium in 1918; since 1919 he serviced in the national army of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic under command of Rustan bek Shikhlinsky.

In 1919, Vezirov was recruited into the artillery unit of the Azerbaijani military academy. He graduated from it in 1920. The same year he joined the VKP(b) and the Red Army as a soldier and continued fighting against militants in Karabakh, the Dzhebrail and Gazakh regions. In 1920-1922 Vezirov participated in fights against Dashnaks who stood against Bolsheviks in Karabakh and the Dzhebrail region. Soon he became a political commissar an artillery battery.

In 1922 Vezirov as a promising young military man was sent to the Military Academy of RKKA. In 1924 Gambai became first Azerbaijani who graduated from it. In Baku he was appointed the deputy head and then the head of the Baku military-political academy which trained officers for Azerbaijani army, including political commissars.

In 1927 reorganization of the army was taking place, and all Trans-Caucasian military educational institutes were transferred to Tiflis. Gambai Vezirov is appointed a head of the third Trans-Caucasian division in Leninakan. In 1929 Vezirov was awarded for successful military maneuvers in the Trans-Caucasus. In November 1930 he was appointed the commander of the 111th rifle regiment of the Belarus Military District and the head of the Zhizdra camp.

From 1932 to 1937 Vezirov commanded the 77th Azerbaijani mountain division. In 1935 Vezirov got the rank of division commander. It is notable that he got this rank in such a young age (36) and that it happened in first months after establishing this rank. Vezirov got many awards during his service in the Red Army. He had many times been proposed to the Central Committee of Azerbaijan, was elected a member of the CEC of the Trans-Caucasus and the USSR Central Executive Committee.

According to his comrades, Gambai Vezirov was not only a high-qualified military, but also a brilliant speaker and demanded commander, as well as good and kind person whom everybody loved and respected.

General Akim Abbasov who serviced under command of Vezirov said that his name "was a symbol of dedication, valour for every Azerbaijani soldier. We listened attentively to his every word at political classes and war games."

Gambai Vezirov and Dzhabir Akiyev who initiated the newspaper "Red Warrior" actively participated in establishing of the first army club in Baku. Gambai translated from Russian in Azerbaijani charters and military literature, wrote articles for "Red Warrior", "Military Knowledge," "Communist", and "Baku Worker."

However, distinguished military career and educational activity of Gambai Vezirov suddenly ended with a tragedy.

Ahead of the repressions of 1937-1938 the first secretary of the VKP (b) CC of Azerbaijan, Mirdzhafar Bagirov, got a message which said that the Azerbaijani Central Committee wasn't active in fighting against opponents of the party, while NKVD bodies kept aloof from their direct duties. This message caused wide-scale repressions - "the kulak operation" which killed 387 thousand people.

Budyonny said about repressions of 1937 that "Not all are taken, but the smartest." Gambai Vezirov's fate was determined - he was a prominent military activist, major and important figure.

Vezirov was arrested on July 29, 1937, and accused of belonging to counter-revolution nationalist organization "Azerbaijani National Party" together with his cousin Heydar Vezirov, 40 representatives of the Azerbaijani Division, and 20 top officers of the military commissariat of the republic. All of them were shot dead. His wife and son were arrested and exiled to Kazakhstan.

In 1955 ahead of rehabilitation of Vezirov, one of workers of the department which arrested the division commander said: "During interrogations Gambai Vezirov was beaten heavily. Avanesyan (the department's head) beat him personally. Avanesyan beat him and demanded to confess in heading a counter-revolution terrorist center. At first Gambai didn't admit his guilt, but later after severe beating he confessed in everything that was needed."

Vezirov was condemned to death on October 13, 1937. He was shot dead the same day. General Aliaga Shikhlinsky wore mourning for Gambai and said: "They shot my son Gambai, my back bended." On July 28, 1956, Gambai Vezirov was rehabilitated.


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