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  • Writer's pictureStephen Lock

Spotlighting brave Agha Ashurov

Agha Ashurov (1886 - 1936) was the second son of Aslan Ashurov. Educated in Kharkiv (then part of imperial Russia) and Germany, he was a talented engineer, before entering politics. Married a German wife, Anna.

He was educated in Khakiv (then part of imperial Russia) and Germany, and he became a talented engineer, before entering politics. He became a founding father of, & minister in, the 1918-1920 governments of the independent Azeri republic (see his wikipedia entry here)

Agha studied engineering and technology in Germany and returned to Baku, where he worked in the city's municipality. He directed steps to improve and develop Baku. Under his leadership, an agreement was signed in 1908 on the construction of a new power plant in Baku and construction of the Shollar water pipeline in Baku.

Aga Ashurov's activity as a political figure began in 1906. He was a participant in the 3rd All-Russian Muslim Congress held in Nizhny Novgorod that year (with the permission of the Tsarist government). Aga Ashurov was elected to the presidium of the congress. Although he did not belong to any party, he was one of the active members of the national movement in Azerbaijan.

Agha would become one of the founding fathers of the first independent Republic of Azerbaijan (1918-1920), following the October Revolution that saw the overthrow of the Tsars and collapse of the Russian empire. He served, variously, as minister of trade (re-establishing Azeri-Ottoman trade), minister for food and minister of post and telegraph.

To the right, you will see the family's copy of Agha's "Order 33" (while Minister in the government of the independent Azerbaijan, Agha Ashurov signed this order which created the border and customs posts between Azerbaijan and Georgia).

As the Bolsheviks sought to take Azerbaijan by force and subsume it into Soviet Russia, Agha was the sole member of the Azeri parliament to vote against capitulation and transfer of power to the Soviet Union. For this he was arrested.

He died in internal exile, in southern Russia, in 1936.

During the Communist period of 1920-1992, discussion of the business and political merits of the Ashurov dynasty were actively repressed in Baku.

Surviving members of the Ashurov family faced suppression by the Soviet authorities and the loss of a large amount of their property and assets in the Soviet Union. Some assets and family-controlled bank accounts remained, dormant, overseas, until the 1990s.

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