The first Russian revolution of 1905 spread across vast areas of the empire, including Azerbaijan. The national bourgeoisie and Muslim intellectuals viewed the revolutionary situation as an opportunity to gain territorial autonomy. Ali Mardan bey, as a famous Muslim lawyer and editor of Kaspii, was the leading promoter of the national aspirations of the Muslim community. Gathering at the home of the oil tycoon Taghiyev, the Muslim intelligentsia discussed issues and prepared their political petition to the Russian imperial government, which was submitted by Topchibasov and his companions in St. Petersburg. The political unrest of 1905 coincided with the first bloody conflict between Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Baku, which started in February 1905 and continued until mid-1906. As a member of the city council, Ali Mardan bey did his best to stop these ethnic clashes and severely criticized the role of Russian officials in this violence. He received permission to publish the newspaper Hayat, which became an important platform for development of the Muslim community. In 1905 the first Russian-Muslim Congress was held in Nizhnii-Novgorod, where the Union of Russian Muslims was created. Topchibashov became chair of the new organization.