Kavbiuro was set up on 8 April 1920 under the leadership of the Georgian Grigory Ordzhonikidze (Chairman) and the Russian Sergey Kirov (Vice Chairman). One immediate concern was that Kavbiuro did not want to see any independent communist parties being created outside of their control.
One decision the Kavbiuro was involved in concerned Karabagh, a predominantly Armenian area disputed by both Armenia and Azerbaijan. Under Tsarist rule the area had been administered from Baku. However in the context of the ethnic conflicts following the Russian Revolution the Karabagh Armenians wanted to become annexed by Armenia. This was prevented first through the intervention of the Ottoman Empire, and following its collapse, by the British. Originally the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, established in April 1920 promised that Karabagh would become part of Armenia. This position was endorsed by Kavbiuro on 3 July 1920, only to be reversed two days later ""considering the necessity of national harmony between Muslims and Armenians, the economic linkage between upper and lower Karabagh, and its permanent ties to Azerbaijan." Some Armenian historians have attributed this to the intervention of Stalin and Nariman Narimanov, chairman of Azrevkom, the Azerbaijani Revolutionary Committee. This position was maintained despite protests from the Armenian Communist Party. Aleksandr Myasnikyan described the Kavbiuro meeting:
- "the last session of the Kavbiuro can be characterized as if Aharonian, Topchubashov and Chkhenkeli were sitting there. Azerbaijan declared that if Armenia demanded Karabagh, then we will not give them kerosene."
- Audrey L. Altstadt (1992), The Azerbaijani Turks, Stanford, Calif: Hoover Institution Press, Stanford University, ISBN 0817991816, OCLC 24846708, OL 1560533M, 0817991816.
- Suny, Ronald Grigor (1989). "Nationalism and Democracy in Gorbachev's Soviet Union: The Case of Karabagh". Michigan Quarterly Review. XXVIII (4): 481–506. hdl:2027/spo.act2080.0028.004:03.