The beginning of Karabakh separatism in modern history

The narration on the last blow from the Empire, the events of 20 January, 1990, will be incomplete unless we dwell at least briefly on the events that preceded the introduction of troops in Baku, since they were used by Gorbachev to explain the very introduction of troops.

A new period came in the long-suffering history of the USSR, Gorbachev came to power and the doomed USSR began taking great strides towards its collapse.

In this situation, Azerbaijan was to face new tragic events in the "family" of peoples headed by "big brother". Bloody separatism in Nagorno-Karabakh began.

Few people remember the systematic and crafty initiation of the Karabakh problem in Armenia.

In accordance with the USSR government resolution, a high-capacity chemistry complex was to have been built in Kazan by 1992. Armenian officials in the CPSU CC and the USSR State Planning Committee managed to get the authority to move the construction to Abovyan.

In the end of the eighties, a non-governmental ecology committee was established all of a sudden, which organized protest marches against the construction of that complex under the following slogans. "Crystal air is the wealth of Armenia", "The air of Armenia is the future of Armenia" etc. And suddenly (or as if suddenly), these slogans disappear, replaced by those supporting separatism in NKAO, "Karabakh is a test of perestroika!", "Moscow, redress the injustice!" etc., and the ecology committee is transformed into the Karabakh committee.

Separatism in NKAO began under social slogans.

One of the chief arguments of Karabakh separatists was that the number of Armenians in NKAO was decreasing in terms of percentage points.

That main PR-argument of the Armenian side was a big lie, though it is still unfortunately used by them to deceive the international public opinion. The percent was falling indeed; however the reasons were quite different from those given by Armenian ideologists.

So what is the true point of the problem?

Let us review the official statistic data for 1959-1970.

The Armenian population increase in the Azerbaijan SSR made up 9.38% in 1959-1970 and 1.66% in 1970-1979.

In absolute figures, the number of Armenians rose from 442,000 to 475,000 in 1959-1970, i.e. by 7.47%. The Armenian population increase in the Georgian SSR made up 2.12% in 1959-1970 and 0.05% in 1970-1979.

Thus, the Armenian population increase in the Muslim Azerbaijan in terms in the period from 1959 to 1970 of percentage points exceeded that in the Christian Georgia 6.6 times!

Any literate reader familiar with the basics of arithmetic can clearly see that the ethnic factor of the Armenian argument is ruled out.


Such are the facts, which are known to be hard to get away from unless you stick to "If the facts are true, the worse for the facts!" principle.

Note that the information was taken from Moscow and Armenian sources.

To be impartial, we should add that against the background of different demographic situation with the number of Armenians in Azerbaijan and Georgia, the Armenian population rate was falling in both republics.

And there is a clear reason for that, not ethnic at all. It is well-known that there was latent unemployment in the Soviet time, especially in mountainous regions. Many teachers, doctors and other specialists from those regions could not find them job in their home places. That was also the case in NKAO. After graduating from colleges in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, they would move to Russia and settle there, finding job and, what is more important, prospects. Note that they went not to Armenia but Russia! They appeared in Armenia much later when seized power there by terror.

It should be remarked that in the Soviet period, the Armenians were the second most socially mobile nations after the Russians, changing their place of living. But whereas the Russians did that mainly by the call of the party and government, the migration of the Armenians was of social nature. They were well aware of the economic situation in certain regions of the USSR where they believed they could have some prospects. In the sixties, a considerable number of Armenians moved to the southern regions of Russia, Central Asia and Kazakhstan. Many Armenians from NKAO can still be found there; they migrated there long before the notorious events.

The former chairman of the Azerbaijan SSR Council of Ministers E. Alikhanov told to the author that in the sixties, when Ministry of Oil Industry was established in Moscow, the republic received the proposal on the voluntary transfer of Azerbaijan Communists to work in Moscow. However, none of the Azerbaijan candidates wished to move to Moscow. One Russian specialist (Zaytsev) and over twenty Armenian specialists gave their consent.


And finally, the main question. Did the population of Armenia and NKAO increase after the well-known events? It did, in terms of percentage points; both Armenia and NKAO became monoethnic, all other nations being driven away from there. However, the picture is different, considered in absolute figures. While they moved from there in a civilized way in the Soviet time, THEY RUN SCATTER IN ALL DIRECTIONS after those events!

The ideology of the Karabakh separatism was handsomely designed "infringement of the rights of the NKAO Armenians" in the Azerbaijan SSR. All mass media in the USSR began trumpeting about that and articles appeared in foreign periodicals. Well-known persons of the country began, mildly speaking, express their discontent in this regard.

Social problems of the Karabakh Armenians and NKAO were discussed by all mass media of the USSR. Moscow "democratic beau monde" was particularly zealous in this task. Their brightest representative Yegor Yakovlev considers the problems of the old national policy. In particular, he says in "Moscow News", 11'1989, "…they spoke of the united family of Soviet peoples, actually setting obstacles of cultural exchange, difficulties were created for children studying in their mother tongue. Such was the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh where many-sided and traditional ties with the fraternal Armenia were broken." A former advocate of Leninism, then anti-Communist, supporter of Karabakh separatists, Yegor Yakovlev does not mention a word of the innocent victims of Khodjaly! Such attitude was typical of Moscow "democratic beau monde".

Official organs did not remain aside.

The CPSU CC resolution on NKAO said that social sphere was neglected, Leninist principles of staff selection and arrangement were roughly violated, and the rights of NKAO Armenians were impaired, and so on. And that was the simple truth, though it was not the way the CPSU CC interpreted it but quite the contrary.

Here is the official information from the Archive of the Azerbaijan SSR Communist Party Central Committee.

"In 1983-1984, the organization of party activity department of the CP CC prepared the research on the NKAO officials, establishing the facts of flagrant violation of the party principle of their selection and arrangement, especially in relation to ethnic Azerbaijanis.

This alerting trend was brought to the notice of the department administration and the supervising secretary of the Central Committee; it was not however taken into account, which had an important part to play in the future course of events in NKAO, especially in 1988," writes R. Akhundov, 1984-1985.

Regional committee of the party violated Leninism principles and the CPSU policy, did not observe the norm of ethnic minority in many issues.

There is not a single Azerbaijani in:

- the administration of the regional committee of people's control;

- the administration of Askeran district committees of the party and Komsomol, though the district was organized in 1978 and formed by the regional committee;

- in the administration of Gadrut district committees of the party and Komsomol;

- in the administration of Gadrut district executive committee.

Equality is broken in staff arrangement in:

- in the administrations of the regional committee, regional executive committee and its departments, regional council of trade unions, the regional committee of Komsomol and other organizations;

- in many collective farms, state farms and other organizations with multinational staff;

- leadership of some industrial facilities with multinational staff.

Certain carelessness and negligence are observed in:

- admittance to the CPSU and VLKSM;

- nomination for different awards;

- election of the panel for solemn occasions and of some delegations going outside the region;

- in election of members of district city committees and Komsomol, as well as bureau of party and Komsomol organizations;

- installation of telephones in Stepanakert (only 56 out of 1,344 in Azerbaijan flats) and other settlement.

The lack of visual agitation in the Azerbaijani language is observed in many establishments, even signboards are absent in some of them.

- the correlation of deputies is broken;

- other nations are treated preferentially.

Speechesatplenarysessionsandpartyactivistsmeetingsin Askeran district, 1980-1981
Type of meeting
Totality of speakers
Of them, ethnic Azerbaijani
Plenary session
Plenary session
Party activists
Plenary session
Plenary session
Party activists
Plenary session
Party activists
Party activists

From the Archive of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan Central Committee

According to the party principles, all the above-mentioned was indeed a flagrant violation of the party regulations. However, despite the assertions of the CPSU CC ideologists, everything was quite the reverse, it was Azerbaijanis in NKAO whose rights were impaired.

The assessment of the social situation in NKAO was also false, superficial and unscientific. "Let us at least remember the process of emergence and development of the Karabakh movement. Why did the people raise the question on joining Armenia? Because the saw that the leaders of Azerbaijan were leading the region to a dead end, trying to cut the natural cultural ties of the Armenian population with Armenia, putting obstacles in the way of the Armenian-speakin intellectuals. Al this is the reality! All this is true! Travelling around the country, I had never seen such neglect to the fate of the people as in Nagorno-Karabakh," wrote A. Volsky on 15 January, 1989 in his article "Peace for the Karabakh Land" published in "Pravda".

That was the lies of a "man of a thousand faces", the former party organizer of Likhachev plant, An-dropov's economy adviser, the bloody representative of Gorbachev in Karabakh, the double-dealer repre-sentative of Yeltsin in Chechnya, the honorary leader of oligarchs (turning to be their betrayer in the hour of need), a double or triple (depending on the situation) agent of secret services, from the KGB to the FSB (Federal Security Service) of Russia (not a complete image, though, there still versions possible), Com-rade-Mister, the head of the Committee of Special Administration of Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, A. Volsky.

The table shows the social data on the USSR, Azerbaijan SSR, Armenian SSR and NKAO…

As we can see, the key figures illustrating the social situation in NKAO were better than in Azerbai-jan and Armenia and a bit worse than in the USSR on average. It gets especially pronounced when com-pared with Armenia.

Let us remember the well-known documentary of the Armenian film studio broadcasted on the Cen-tral Television Channel several months before the Karabakh events and demonstrating the extreme pov-erty in the settlement situated 30 km from Yerevan.

Doctor of Historical Studies S.V. Vostrikov (Smolensk), who wrote several articles about the "suf-fering" of the Karabakh Armenians, writes in his article "Karabakh knot as a conflictogenic factor of Transcaucasia", "Considerable disproportion of the levels of social and economic development became an important conflictogenic factor. THE POINT WAS NOT THAT THE ARMENIANS OF NKAO LIVED WORSE THAN THEIR AZERBAIJAN NEIGHBOURS. QUITE THE CONTRARY, THE LIVING STANDARD OF THE FORMER WAS BETTER IN MANY PARAMETERS THAN THAT OF THE LATTER (highlighted by the author). However, the NKAO Armenians knew well how they brothers lived in Armenia and naturally supposed that they would be able to improve their welfare considerably by gain-ing independence. The living standard of Armenia (excelling Azerbaijan considerably in most per capita indices of welfare) kind of guided them." Armenia did not guide the NKAO Armenians, for leaving the region, they mainly went not to Armenia.

Quantity of hospital beds per 10,000 person (pieces)
Number of doctors of all specialties per 10,000 person
Number of paramedical personnel per 10,000 person
Number of public libraries per 10,000 person
Number of clubs per 10,000 person
Quantity of film projector units per 10,000 person
Coverage of children by preschool institutions (percent from the size of the corresponding population group)
Number of students in the first shift (percent from the total number of students)
Housing resources per 1 citizen (square meter);
in rural area
in urban area

Source: Statistic information of the State Planning Committee

Karabakh Armenians excelled their "brothers" from Armenia in many ways, which shows that their life in Azerbaijan was not that bad at all. It was not accident that after the well-known events Karabakh Armenians easily seized power in Armenia getting their yesterday "brothers" under and did not looked like an oppressed people!

The editorial in "St. Petersburg University" journal, N21 (3517), 20 October, 1999, titled "Particular Perplexity of a Voter, or In Defence of the Nonpartisan General Secretary", gives a deep analysis of social problems and ethnic relations citing NKAO as an example. It is a pity that editorial did not appear in the beginning of separatism problem, it was much more relevant then. "It is easy to destruct our society. It is already oversaturated with electricity like a fireball, ready to explode at a slightest touch. Especially at a touch upon national strings. It is hard to think of that war in NKAO but we must not hush it up either. It was clear from the very start that the Karabakh knot cannot be undone on the current legal level. This is a political dead end, to go out of which a certain law-making way should be walked. Is it sensible to interpret this emergency situation as a national tragedy of the Armenian people and demand the immediate change of the NKAO status?

Surely, social living conditions are difficult there. But let us look at the centres of the countries, Yerevan, Baku, Tbilisi. How do - no, not sales or consumer service workers - simple workers of an engineering plant, for instance, live there? I can answer. Its is hard life on the verge of poverty, amid half-legalized Soviet theft. Not only now but for many decades. And generally speaking, give me such a place in our state where a man living on his wage could easily earn his daily bread without being humiliated by authority? There is no place like that. However, it does not mean that we all are to bring forward some ultimatums, snatch sporting guns and antihail units and shoot one another down as fast as possible. We have already passed that in accordance with Marxism-Leninism and cannot recover so far. Would not it be better to advance in a civilized way, in conformity with the general law of complex system dynamics, according to the method of small perturbations, not deviating too much from the equilibrium? Otherwise, it is a failure, a disaster like the one we observe in NKAO."

The authors of the article do not or do not want to understand that the separatists from NKAO WISHED EXACTLY TO DESTRUCT OUR SOCIETY AND LEAD IT TO A CATASTROPHE TO ACHIEVE THEIR OWN AIMS.

When the Soviet mass media and central authority of the USSR spoke in unison about social problems in NKAO, the impression was that Azerbaijan and its capital Baku lived in clover, while the population of NKAO hardly managed to make both ends meet.

Major Soviet economists made their contribution to this interpretation, arguing that Azerbaijan had always been in preferential economic conditions in the USSR but that had not influenced the economy of NKAO properly. Aganbegyan, Sitaryan, Volsky and others were particularly zealous in such statements.

Let us cite the facts. 23.3 billion roubles were invested in Azerbaijan industry in the period from 1920 to 1985. Net oil income (taking into account the development of the world oil prices) amounts to over 100 billion dollars. Even if we take into consideration rouble-to-dollar rate set by Stalin (when asked about rouble-to-dollar rate, he set it as 92 kopecks for a dollar), then oil income alone exceeds the investments four times. The actual oil income exceeds the investments dozens times. Moreover, if we consider that 80% of the investments turned into a heap of metal scraps and that ecologically, the oilfields are a silent reproach to the Communist regime, the picture will be complete.

"Builds a bridge, engineer deals every molecule," said one of founding fathers of cybernetics Ashby. When assessing the things Azerbaijan gave and gained, one should not remember something built somewhere, for the above-mentioned information clears the issue up.

According to S. Mamedov, in the period from 1913 to 1988, industrial production increased 99 times in the Azerbaijan SSR, 220 times in the USSR on the whole, 369 times in Byelorussia and 563 times in Armenia, although Azerbaijan had much better starting position than Byelorussia and Armenia. There was no relation between awards, orders, challenge banners and living standard. The population of Azerbaijan considerable excelled that of the Baltic republics both in received orders and in the poverty level 8-10 times, since national wealth turned not into national values but into orders and medals, various banners etc.

We should stress it once again that in the seventies, owing to the personality of H. Aliyev, currency-consuming equipment was delivered in Azerbaijan. Owing not to the nobility of the Soviet power (leaders of other republics could not use it for some reason) but to the personal qualities of H. Aliyev.

We should deduct the damage Armenia inflicted on Azerbaijan from the investments made in it in the Soviet period.

Had been the position of the Soviet Moscow impartial and fair, Armenia would not have been able to inflict so much damage on Azerbaijan.

One can often find naive reasoning that oil was cheaper than mineral water and oil price rise would have solved all problems. Even if world oil prices had been fixed, Azerbaijan would have not benefited much, there existing Politburo, State Planning Committee of the USSR. And this is comprehensible, as the formation of republican budgets had not economic but political basis ("there is a Politburo resolution", "we must first of all help the cradle of revolution", "Moscow will be made a model city", "relatives often come to see the population of this republic, we want to make it model" and so on).

It so happened that the extremity of the situation in the years of the Soviet state formation, Great Patriotic War and economy development each time required intensification of deposits exploration exceeding acceptable bounds several times. All this was accompanied with considerable lag in facilities construction, formation of the appropriate industry, capital renewals, formation of the social complex.

The intensity of operation of oil producing facilities and the low rates of their renewal are demonstrated by the fact that the initial cost of basic assets decreased 2.5 times today, 80% of oil wells have worked through several lives and are virtually unfit for efficient exploitation.

The emphasis was laid not on the systematic drilling-out and improved oil deposit development but on the rapid extraction of most actual reserves, which inflicted the irreversible damage on the bowels. The Soviet principle of spending as little means as possible on producing as much oil as possible has led to a natural end.

Oilfields of Baku were considerably destroyed during the war. World oil production in 1941-1945 was analyzed to make the full assessment of the degree of breakdown. Experts integrated data on the USA, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Romania, Mexico, Argentina, Columbia, Trinidad and Tobago, Germany, Bahrain, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Hungary and Japan. This data is given in Picture 3 in the form of relation of oil production in 1945 to that in 1940. As the chart shows, oil production in a number of countries remained on the level of 1941; these countries are Romania, Argentina, Columbia, Trinidad and Tobago, Bahrain, Peru, Hungary and Japan. In some countries, oil production increased; these are the USA, Venezuela, Iran, Iraq, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia. It increased most noticeably in Venezuela, the USA and Iraq. The example of Azerbaijan is dreadful, the country having lost half oil production in the years in question. And that destruction was not natural but man-made. Romanian oilfields had been occupied by the German and the Soviet army by turns, and still they suffered much less than those in Baku.

The model of oil production development in 1945 versus that in 1940 demonstrates that oilfields of Germany and Azerbaijan underwent fundamental destruction. However, whereas important industrial facilities of Germany were destructed by incessant bombardments of the allies and occupied afterwards, oilfields of Baku were destroyed by terrible loads on favoured oil pools of Absheron! It is astounding that the eventual results were equal in both cases! In Germany, oil production was 1 million tons per year in 1941, while in Azerbaijan it amounted to 24 million tons per year. Take into account that not a single bomb fell on Baku oilfields and no serious diversions were made. That is the cost Azerbaijan oilfields and bowels had to pay for the confrontation with petrochemical industry of Germany headed by the ingenious scientist patronized by Hitler himself, Fischer, and oil refining industry of Europe occupied by the fascists!


All this caused grave environmental problems in the republic.

In more than century-long period of oil production in Azerbaijan, a complex of deep social and ecological problems formed here that hinders positive processes in the republic, adversely affecting the life and mood of the people and causing serious political tension recently.

Social and ecological tension in Baku and on Absheron peninsula is especially alerting, as major oil producing, oil refining and petrochemical facilities are concentrated there in a small territory, with their dense network of extended communications crossing the area of residential communities, public centres, national parks, recreational zones. The centre of the city, a large amphitheatre with the area of 30,000 hectares, is encircled by the wide ring of 20,000 hectares of field territories, lifeless masout-covered lands, numerous polluted reservoirs. For many decades, the share of means for social development of the republic made up less than 5% of the total amount of capital investments. As a consequence, considerable number of families lives in shabby repair houses in the gas-polluted field territory. All Slavic towns that had been damaged were restored after the war. However, the hell of ecology of Absheron peninsula was not rehabilitated even in part.

The situation is particularly tense in Baku and Sumgayit. Those cities became most ecologically unfavourable in the country. Atmosphere is exposed to serious pollution. Industrial facilities annually disperse to the air over 550,000 ton of detrimental substances containing sulphur and fluorine compounds, nitrogen, hydrocarbons, chlorine and fluorine. There are 798 ton of detrimental substances dispersed to the atmosphere per square km in Sugayit, 217 ton in Baku, which is 20 times more than in the republic on average. Concentration of some high-toxic substances exceeds the accepted standard two or three times, which accounts for the high sickness rate and children's mortality of the population.

The analysis carried out by the Radiation Research Sector of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan demonstrates that "the capacity of oil production making up 10 million tons per year, about 161 ton nitrogen oxides, 2,658 ton sulphur oxides and 9,877 ton carbon oxides are dispersed to the atmosphere from electric power systems in thermochemical preparation and processing alone. These figures do not include detrimental substances ejection in burning of flare gases. Oil production increase and more advanced processing will entail three- or fourfold increase in the ejection of detrimental substances into atmosphere."

The sphere of protection of water resources is in complete disorder. Over 1 billion cubic meters of crude sewage is poured into the Caspian Sea. The crude sewage bring such detrimental substance as chlorides, sulphates, nitrates, oil products, phenols, surfactant species, organic and other pollutants. Their concentration in the bay of Baku, on Sumgayit seaside and other parts of the Caspian water area exceeds the allowed standard several times. According to the calculations of experts, 100,000 ton oil products, 1,000 ton phenols, 1,500 ton copper, 7,000 ton zinc and other harmful substances are poured into the Caspian annually through the Volga, Kura, Terek and Samur alone.

Professor Kasymov estimated that up to 11 billion cubic meters of polluted waters get into the Caspian annually, the figure including up to 10 billion cubic meters from the Volga, up to 0.7 billion cubic meters from the Kura. These waters are kind of "tincture" of pesticides, domestic and industrial waste from the facilities of Tbilisi and Rustavi. The table gives the data on the quantitative and qualitative sewage disposal into the Caspian in 1995 in the area of activity of Baku Ecology Committee.

"Trend" new agency reported that according to the head of "Isotope" special facilities B. Guseynov, 55% of the territory of Baku and Sumgayit and 37% of the territory of Absheron are exposed to radioactive contamination. The chief sources of radioactive contamination are the waste left after the withdrawal of the Soviet Army and radioactive waste from the Armenian nuclear station. Radioactive waste from the latter has been disposed in the occupied territory of Azerbaijan and amounts to over 30 tons. 150 points of nuclear-waste disposal left after the withdrawal of the Soviet Army have been found in Gazakh alone.

The process of construction and operation of treatment facilities is unsatisfactory either. The full capacity operation of the largest water-protective object in the republic, Big Baku Ductwork, has not been provided so far.

41.8% of 8,641,000 hectares (which makes 3,610,000 hectares) is exposed to erosion, 36% of 1,520,000 hectares of irrigated area is saline. More than 7,000 hectares in Absheron have been ruined; 7,200 hectares of once fertile lands are polluted and subject to revegetation. There are 80 dumps for domestic and industrial waste in Baku alone. Due to the lack of organization in waste and sewage disposal of facilities and communal services, ground-water level has risen, over 10,000 hectares are watered and swampy. A striking example of negligence toward nature is the current difficult situation in Lokbatan residential area surrounded with numerous man-made lake full of domestic waste. Many years of discharging domestic and industrial waste have made the lakes Beyuk-Shor, Chukhur-Dara, Ganly-Gol and other turn into catch pit and burst their banks, polluting the adjacent area.

Academician V. Gadjiyev said that "the flora of Azerbaijan includes over 800 species of medicinal plants, 825 contain essential oils, 200 - rubber, more than 200 - tannin, 460 - dye-stuff, 400 - vitamins, 600 - alkaloids. 150 species of fruit and berry plants are spread in the territory of our republic. Once forests made up 25-20% of the Azerbaijan territory, but their area has reduced to 11% by today. 225 hectares of valuable forest lands and more than 70,000 hectares of small and big shrubs have been ruined in the republic in the last 25-30 years."

According to expert calculations, the realization of the full complex of measures on environmental sanitation in Baku, revegetation, biological recovery, draining and cleaning of settling lakes, construction of drainage systems, cleaning of the Caspian bay, including special technical equipment for the building organizations, requires dozens of millions dollars. The situation is aggravated by the lack of free area for the development of Baku, which forces to use agricultural lands of Absheron peninsula for these purposes.

Over a billion tons of oil was produced in Azerbaijan in the period of the Soviet power. There are many countries in the world that have produced dozens times more oil than us. But if we compare the ecological situation, the condition of Azerbaijan is poor.

Deputy Minister of Economy O. Akhverdiyev said to "Trend" news agency that 600,000 hectares of once fertile land are so saline that they could not be used in agriculture any more. Other sources tell us that swampy, eroded and residual lands can be found virtually everywhere today. They have recently taken space photographs of our croplands through special optical filters. When the films were developed and prints were made, scientists lost their tongue, seeing that every hectare was covered with many layers of waste dust…

According to many experts, landscape diversity produces a favourable effect on ethnos and allows the people to express its own diversity. In this regard, Azerbaijan is unique. The estimation of the diversity of Azerbaijan allows us to be included in the elite of world countries. However, a centralized administrative system has a particularly sensitive impact on such countries as ours. Depriving the people of freedom closely related to the natural diversity, the system deprives it of the future.



Was the social situation in Nakhchivan better than in NKAO? Did Azerbaijan cotton growers who toiled under trying conditions live better than NKAO? Was the everyday life of Balakhany oil workers better than that of furniture makers from NKAO? Such comparisons are endless. As was mentioned above, despite enormous subsidies (unofficial information says that Armenia ranked first in the USSR in subsidies), the social situation in Armenia (with the exception of Yerevan that was prospering on account of shadow economy) was not better than in NKAO.


Familiarizing with this information, any impartial reader will understand that the Karabakh Armenians by no means reminded a people "oppressed by Azerbaijan", as virtually as Soviet mass media asserted.

This information is quite sufficient to assess the situation in NKAO as a part of the Azerbaijan SSR.

The CPSU CC was familiar with all this information as well but it was ignored completely as inconvenient for the authors of resolutions on NKAO. The CPSU Central Committee officials had the cheek to phone to different departments of the Azerbaijan SSR Communist Party Central Committee asking to send more critical information on the political and social situation in NKAO. Clearly, they were not interested in other materials giving an objective assessment to the situation in NKAO.


The then deputy head of the USSR KGB Philipp Denisovich Bobkov writes in connection with the Karabakh separatism, "In two or three months, I met the former first deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers of Armenia in Moscow. He was in retirement. Kirokosyan spent much time explaining why the Karabakh problem was to be solved in the Armenians' favour and gave ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS (highlighted by the author).

'We need land badly'

I was surprised.


'Armenians leave Armenia because they have no land.'

'And where do they go?'

'Stavropol, Siberia, Centrail Russia.'

'Is it that bad?'

'Well, the nation gets scattered. We need land to stop Armenians from moving to other regions of the Soviet Union.'"(Armenia still occupies considerable amounts of territory, however the nation continues to move as far from those lands as possible. - Author)

When the events began, one of the ideologists of Karabakh separatists, Igor Muradyan, said, "Armenia will not survive without new territories, it needs new agricultural lands."

"We are like in prison cell!" exclaims Sylvia Kaputikyan.

"Gorbachev! Give us our land back!" these words are heard at all meetings in Armenia.

Armenian clergy did not remain aside either, speaking about the ethnic persecution of the Karabakh Armenians, thereby adding ethnic factor to the separatist movement. But that was not truth either.

The truth also becomes clear, if we familiarize with the appeal of Catholicos of all Armenians dated 12.06.1988, given in the book "Destiny" by G. Shakhnazarov (pp.50-52, in Armenian). "It is no secret that not all of our lands belong to us yet. But there will come the time to conquer them and populate them. In the last 40 years, the Armenians have returned the land of their fathers. They make up 60%. The territories in Krasnodar and Stavropol regions are gradually coming out of the Russian control… There are 80% of our land in Armavir (Northern Armenia) (the Armenian name for Rostov region - A. Alekperov)… so, if we are sensible we will populate Rostov region as well… There is no reason to worry, we have the support of the Russian Church and many our followers of high rank. I believe that 480,000 Armenians in Moscow do mean something. My dear children, buy houses slowly… persuade the local population to move, take root in your home land… The USSR is breaking down now, and soon we will be furthering the downfall of Russia… It is time for a crusade against those who has driven away our long-suffering nation from its land! Echmiadzin - 12.06.1988."

In "The Gulag Archipelago", 1991, v.5, p.223, A.I. Solzhenitsyn writes, "When the Hitlerites seized our South, the number of volunteer battalions (in Vlasov's army - Author) increased again with a Georgian, an Armenian, a Northern Caucasian and 16 Kalmyk ones… There were almost no Soviet guerillas in the south." The USSR was believed to be on the brink of defeat then, and the considerable number of Armenian battalions was getting ready for the process of division of the USSR. In Gorbachev's period, it became clear in several years after his rise to power that the USSR would collapse and the formation of Armenian battalions began again to occupy another's land. The perspicacious A.I. Solzhenitsyn could not fail to comprehend that, and yet he chose to protect Karabakh separatists.

These facts (that are by far not solitary ones) finish any reasoning of Karabakh separatists and their heralds on lofty matters of the Karabakh movement. THE CHIEF AND SOLE AIM OF ARMENIA WAS AND IS ONLY SEIZURE OF THE LANDS NOT BELONGING TO THEM!

Fine statements of different circles and persons about spirituality, demography, social problems and so on were intended for the civilized world that is known to overreact to such problems and is very far from a deep analysis.

This was also observed by an Israeli publicist Robert David. He expressed his opinion after his visit to Yerevan and Baku in May 1991, "NKAO would not have sawn the branch it was sitting on without being stirred up from outside. It was the Armenians, the nation with a huge sisterhood in the USA, that played the part of a Trojan Horse in the Soviet camp, which surely has its reason. Nagorno-Karabakh was the first ulcer of the nationalistic plague. It did not occur to anyone that if at one moment the Armenians needed national self-determination rights most of any other rights, they could use it freely in full measure, moving from NKAO to Armenia. However, they desire to move together with the territory they live in! Without the territory, they do not want to go. So, territory is most important for these people and not self-determination. The Armenians already have independence. How many times can one nation gain it?"

The main political slogan of the Karabakh movement was "Miatsum!" "Miatsum!" the shouted in Khankendi, "Miatsum!" they cried in the Theatre Square in Yerevan, "Miatsum!" echoed Russian democrats, "Miatsum!" screamed headlines in the Soviet press, "Miatsum!" flashed on the screen of central TV channels; everything seemed to have melted in some kind of miatsum ecstasy!

And no one remembered in that ecstasy that "miatsum" means "reunion", Reunion is Anschluss, Anschluss is War, War is A TRAGECY FOR PEOPLES!

No one remembered that the enslavement of Europe by the fascist Germany had begun with "miatsum", with Anschluss of Austria and Sudeten.

In October 1987, the first meeting of "Karabakh" Committee took place in Pushkin Park in Yerevan. It was convened by the leaders Igor Muradyan and Levon Ter-Petrosyan. The combat hymn played at that meeting "Karabakh needs living idols today" with a rather warlike ending "We will overcome death and fear of prison to save our Karabakh". On 25 January, 1988, after those meetings, first hundreds of refugees began arriving in Azerbaijan that had been driven from Kafan and Megri regions of theArmenian SSR. Three months later, 24 February, 1988, first blood was shed in the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict; two Azerbaijanis were killed in NKAO.

The eviction of Azerbaijanis from Armenia has a long history.

The process started in the Soviet Union, in Stalin's times.

THE USSR COUNCIL OF MINISTERS, RESOLUTION N4083, 23 December, 1947. Moscow, Kremlin. On the resettlement of collective farmers and other Azerbaijani population from the Armenian SSR to Kura-Araks lowland of the Azerbaijan SSR. sup. 10.03.48 N754

The chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers I. Stalin. Execute secretary of the USSR Council of Ministers Y. Chadayev

The USSR Council of Ministers found it necessary to supplement its first resolution with N547 resolution dated 10 March, 1948. The second document suggested further development of the resolution adopted on 23 December and was again signed by Stalin. It intensified the measures on the resettlement of Azerbaijanis. The first part of 23 December, 1947 resolution read that from 1948 to 1950 100,000 collective farmers and other representatives of the Azerbaijan population living in the territory of Armenia were to be voluntarily moved to Kura-Araks lowland of the Azerbaijan SSR, 10,000 of them in 1948, 40,000 in 1949 and 50,000 in 1950.

Vazghen I was unfair to Stalin, saying that "the period of Stalin's personality cult was a disaster for everyone. Leninism, the true Socialist doctrine was distorted. I wish Lenin had not died so early, he could live long!"

The period of Stalin's personality cult was indeed a disaster for everyone, including the Armenian people. However, Stalin shared the same ideas on the eviction of Azerbaijanis with the then leader of Armenia.

After Gorbachev's rise to power, Armenia continued Stalin's cause with renewed strength. The proper process of eviction have never stopped but it became definite in the time of Gorbachev.

The ideology of that process was briefly but essentially expressed by S. Kaputikyan, "…Turks, especially their Azerbaijan wing, are to be broken all the time. The struggle against every Azerbaijani is to be conducted on the level of a state programme." Hitler used to say something like that about Jews!

This appeal of the weak-sighted lady was heard all over Armenia, both by the authority and informal groups.

Leaflets and posters were hanging throughout Armenia, at bus stops, on the gates, in house blocks where Azerbaijanis lived, with the full support of the authorities.

"People of Armenia!

Do not ever forget the bloody days of 1915, the terror brought by Talat pasha, Enver pasha, Jamal pasha! Live and remember!

Everyone who calls himself Armenian!

Drive the Turks from our land!

Do not give them water from Armenian springs!

Do not give him bread baked with the hands of Armenian woman!

Turks, out of our city!"

A corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of Armenia Rafael Kazaryan spoke before many thousands of marchers during the meeting in the Theatre Square in Yerevan in the beginning of the events, "For the first time in decades, we have a unique opportunity to clear Armenia." He repeated one-to-one the words of Ribbentrop about the Jews.

His appeals, like those of Kaputikyan, were heard and their mass realization began.

On 12 November, 1988, in the town of Spitak, the first secretary of Spitak City Committee of the Communist Party N. Muradyan, the first secretary of the regional executive committee of the Communist Party F. Abuchyan, the head doctor of the region R. Bagdaryan, Judge E. Nazaryan, the head of militia V. Sarkisyan, public prosecutor Arakisyan with several armed bearded man evicted Azerbaijan families from their flats and administered "justice". 36 persons died, unable to endure refined tortures. 70 children at the age from 5 to 12 were immured alive before heir parents' eyes in the prepared pipe of 20 meters length and 1.5 meters diameter. Another 27 Azerbaijan children were taken away in the unknown direction.

"The eviction of Azerbaijanis in Shauman settlement of the Armenian SSR was carried out with the participation of the chairman of the village Soviet and other officials," even "Pravda", the newspaper far from sympathies towards Baku, wrote on 7 January, 1989.

Even the earthquake in Armenia on 7 December was used by the Armenian authorities to suit their filthy ends. Entire Azerbaijan villages were extinguished and that was accounted for the earthquake.

That earthquake was also used against Azerbaijan by well-known forces. It was disgusting when famous journalists of Moscow wrote that people in Baku were celebrating the Armenian earthquake in the squares. During the "round table" in Baku, where the situation in the region was steadily discussed, the commandant of the special region Colonel General Tyagunov suddenly began reproaching the Azerbaijan people for "gloating over another's woe". That shocked both the participants of the round table and the TV audience. Colonel general as a common agent provocateur!

History of the mankind knows many earthquakes that took hundreds of thousands of human lives; however we do not know any single case when such a tragedy was used as black PR action against other people!

"The whole Russia was supporting Armenian people," remember KGB agents Vladimir Lutsenko and Valery Khmelev, "but few know that militants shot our paratroopers in the back when the latter were standing in cordon around the earthquake source. Extremists had begun arming themselves by that time."

Not just arming themselves.

According to the materials of the Azerbaijan Republic Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Citizens State Committee, petty groups were organized in Spitak after the destructive earthquake from among the activists of the Armenian "Karabakh" terrorist organization. They were engaged in car theft, embezzlement of medicines coming to the Yerevan "Zvartnots" airport from all around the world, pillage of shops in the damaged cities, removing watches, jewellery, money etc. from the corpses.

Such facts are also confirmed in Russian sources.

Victor Nikolaev writes about the earthquake in Spitak, "'Don't move! Don't move or I'm shooting!' Right off the bat, the tunnel sight of the captain spotted shadows that had slipped behind the building ruins. Battle experience is for ever. 'Get down, everyone! Mugs to the ground! Arms to the sides, legs apart!'

Fighting, constrained wheeze and certainly foul words for a minute. Then four single shots from Kalashnikov and here they are - two thrashing about in convulsions, four screaming excitedly interrupting one another, 'Doncha shoot, noo! Bin goin' to bury our sis… Doncha shoot, we're lyin'…'

After being replaced, Victor and other men were thinking of one and the same thing, remembering the opened coffin, ripped up belly of a dirty woman and a pile of jewellery in it. Those inhuman monsters had been taking gold so hastily that they had cut off swollen fingers and ears together with rings and earrings."

The KGB agents Vladimir Lutsenko and Valery Khmelev write, "A considerable amount of different kind of weapon was supplied to Armenia under the guise of humanitarian aid to the victims of the earthquake in Spitak."

Alexei Vaschenko echoes, "Many Armenians came to Armenia from France to take part in the Karabakh conflict, in which many mercenaries also participated. The Armenian community rendered humanitarian aid to the victims of the earthquake in Spitan and Leninakan, delivering weapon and ammunition together with that humanitarian aid." This is how the natural disaster was used!

The earthquake in Spitake cleared up some other things as well. Broadcasts of "Vremya" programme began every day with report on the support some or other Russian region rendered to Armenia, which was only welcome. But something stunned us and we understood that there was something wrong in Russia. On 3 June, 1989, 23:14, a train crash occurred due to the explosion of the gas pipeline near Ufa, on Novosibirsk - Adler and Adler - Novosibirsk routes, with the trains being occupied mainly by children that had been going to summer sea resorts and back from there. 1,100 people suffered. 40 children died of wounds and burns in just one day, according to the Central Television. The rest was silence. NOT A SINGLE OUTSTANDING RUSSIAN PUBLIC FIGURE, WRITER, SCIENTIST ETC. BROUGHT FORWARD ANY INITIATIVE ON THE ASSISTANCE TO MORE THAN 1,000 OF VICTIMS, THE MOST OF WHICH REMAINED DISABLED! INSPITE OF THEIR BEING RUSSIANS! The head of the USSR Council of Ministers N. Ryzhkov did not appear on the site of the tragedy either, though he had refused to leave Armenia during the earthquake in Spitak.

Dozens of thousands Russian soldiers coming home from the Afghan war, the war that had not been theirs, needed everything. Instead, as they would say themselves, they had the impression that AFTER THE AFGHAN WAR THEY CAME TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY.

Another striking example of such attitude to their own people was G. Starovoytova. The aid of the president of Russia Yeltsin, G. Starovoytova took absolutely no interest in the Russian affairs, constantly lobbying for the interests of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. According to Armenian sources, during meetings with a number of outstanding politicians (M. Thatcher, F. Mitterrand, V. Havel, L. Walesa, A. Kwasniewski, D. Baker, J. Carter, B. Ghali and others), she always raised only the Karabakh issue.

To the detriment of Russia, Starovoytova took part in lobbying for the transfer and further reconstruction of two Armenian churches of St. Petersburg and the adjacent buildings and areas under the jurisdiction of Moscow and Nor-Nakhchivan eparchy of Armenian apostolic church. had it depended on G. Starovoytova, she would have transferred Russia itself under the jurisdiction of Armenia!

David Petrosyan writes that "in 1988-1989 G. Starovoytova took part in more than 40 symposiums, conferences and workshops held by large research centres and international organizations, where she defended the self-determination right of the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians, up to the formation of an independent state;

- in the same period, she delivered lectures in ethnography, ethnopsychology and ethnic conflicts in more than 20 prestigious universities of the USA, Great Britain, Canada and other countries, continuously citing the example of the self-determination demand of the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians as the most indisputable;

- in mass media of over 20 countries, G. Starovoytova published interview and articles, reasoning the self-determination right of the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians, up to the formation of an independent state."

As we can see, this is a rather impressive record of service in anti-Azerbaijan activity of a Russian deputy and public figure, which is totally out of place, for Russia never declared war on Azerbaijan officially! Another natural and important question arises. What has G. Starovoytova done for Russia? Fighting Communists. And as became clear after her murder, on finding a featherbed, she got into criminal business (according to the report in the Russian press, her capital at the moment of murder amounted to a million dollars).

In this connection, we can remember the following extract from "Anna Karenina". "Here am I too," said the old prince. "I've been staying abroad and reading the papers, and I must own, up to the time of the Bulgarian atrocities, I couldn't make out why it was all the Russians were all of a sudden so fond of their Slavonic brethren, while I didn't feel the slightest affection for them. I was very much upset, thought I was a monster, or that it was the influence of Carlsbad on me. But since I have been here, my mind's been set at rest. I see that there are people besides me who're only interested in Russia, and not in their Slavonic brethren." Time has made some amendments in this brilliant description of the Russian mass conscience, now the Armenians are a headache of Russia. Perhaps, the recipe of the great old man, Count Tolstoy, is applicable to the today's Russia? Perhaps, it is time indeed it dealt its own problem? An amazing country is Russia! One would understand it neither by means of common sense, nor by means of common economic calculations!

Here are the results of the deportation of Azerbaijanis from Armenia.

Over 230,000 our compatriots were driven from 185 Azerbaijan villages in Armenia. Up to 31,000 houses, 165 collective farms and state farms were pillaged, considerable amount of livestock was taken, 216 persons were killed, 1,154 injured, hundreds of brave sons of the people were tortured and had their eyes put out.

Here is the list of Azerbaijan victims in another ethnic purge in Armenia.

- 2 persons were killed by doctors in a hospital;
- 3 persons died due to failure to assist sick person;
- 35 persons were killed in tortures;
- 41 persons died of battery;
- 11 persons were burned alive;
- 2 persons had their heads cut off after tortures;
- 4 persons were killed and burned;
- 1 person was hung;
- 3 persons were drowned;
- 7 persons were run over with cars;
- 16 persons were shot from firearms;
- 49 persons froze to death in mountains trying to escape;
- 8 persons were kidnapped and are missing;
- 1 person was killed with electricity;
- 10 persons died of heart attack due to the shock, including one pregnant woman.

In total, 216 people were killed, including 57 women, 5 infants and 18 children of different age.

The number of internally displaced people in the regions of dislocation (%)
Regions, cities
Baku and adjacent regions
Other regions

Source: UNHCK Refugees and Others of Concern to UNHCR.
1996 Statistical Overview; Geneva, July, 1997.

The surviving refugees from Armenia have undergone inhumane ordeal.

"Heart-rending scenes: a young Azerbaijan woman with a tiny girl in her arms and a boy clutching at the hem of her skirt. They were crossing a snow-covered mountain pass. An old teacher, whose face bore bitterness besides the common-for-all expression of stupefaction, for he had told children of some fundamentals of life that had crumbled n a flash right before their eyes. Azerbaijan peasants from the villages Lermontovo and Fioletovo where their neighbours were Russian Molokans, whose old-fashioned beards and even manner of speech they adopted. Faces, many faces of people driven like lambs to the slaughter heaven knows why and by heaven knows whom. A great sacrifice offering to the funeral pyre of the Soviet Union began," Ksenya Myalo writes in her book "Russia and the last wars of the 20th century. On the history of the downfall of the superpower", in the second chapter "Break".

Armenia was the first in the modern history of the USSR to put into practice "no man, no problem" aphorism of Stalin, by evicting all Azerbaijanis from Armenia.

The USSR mass media again hushed up this tragedy of the Azerbaijanis.

The head of Z department of KGB Vladimir Lutsenko and head of a section Valery Khmelev write, "Somehow, no one has said so far, for instance, that in the Armenian village of Gukark happened almost the same that had been in Sumgayit. They taunted Azerbaijanis, killed them, pillaged houses."

No doubt, the well-informed intelligence officers Lutsenko and Khmelev tell half-truth, whereas such cases require precision, a woman cannot be a bit pregnant, you know. The precise figures are the following. 26 people were killed in Sumgayit, 216 people were killed in Gukar and Masis regions of Armenia.

Armenian "initiative" of dealing ethnic issue was adopted in different regions of the USSR, and "the process started".

On 2 June, 1989, at the first congress of the USSR people's deputies, the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia S.G. Arutyunyan reviewed the eviction of Azerbaijanis from Armenia. "AS OF 1 JUNE, 1989, THERE IS NOT A SINGLE AZERBAIJAN FAMILY IN ARMENIA…" (highlighted by the author). In a little more than a decade the same statement will be made by the "president" of "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic" R. Kocharyan.

Armenian extremists "successfully" solved two problems, they both evicted all Azerbaijanis from Armenia with the silent consent of Moscow, and created an explosive situation in Azerbaijan.

In January 1988, the following leaflet from Yerevan was spread in NKAO. "It is time to conduct general party, trade union and Komsomol meetings at major facilities, in collective farms and state farms of the region, with the agenda including the issue of reunion of Karabakh with Motherland. The spirit of glasnost and democracy is to become an impulse for an open and honest discussion of this issue. Excerpt from resolutions of these meetings must be certified with appropriate seals and sent to the CPSU CC, with signature of participants attached."

And fabricated excerpts and records were surely sent to Moscow in an enormous quantity!

This trick had already been tested in Khruschev's time. When the latter began the struggle against personality cult, under the slogan of cleaning of personality cult and with the name of Baghirov mentioned, they began collect signatures for… becoming a part of Armenia.

Khruschev understood their intentions well and nipped them in the bud. But in the time of Gorbachev, it all was greeted in Moscow and the bloody drama started.

Before the beginning of the bloody events in Azerbaijan, many Armenian writers and public figures were welcome visitors of the USSR officials of different ranks.

"On 8 January, 1988, an Armenian delegation arrived in Moscow. It was received by Politburo member Petr Demchev who confirmed that the "movement is neither anti-Soviet nor nationalistic."

After that, Gorbachev invites Z. Balayan and S. Kaputikyan in Moscow and receives them. Returning from Moscow to Yerevan, they immediately set for a big meeting in the Theatre Square and declare that "Gorbachev deeply feels the problems of Karabakh population…"

None of the members of Gorbachev's Politburo knew the depth of the problem to make proposals. Nor did they want to know, realizing too well that the General Secretary and his closest circle took pro-Armenian stand, which was quite sufficient for them.

The "depth" of comprehension of the conflict by Gorbachev's associates can be demonstrated with the following examples.

In February 1988, the CPSU CC secretary V. Dolgikh, who had been sent to Yerevan from Moscow to examine the Karabakh conflict on the spot, said the following in one of his speeches, "What have you got to argue about with their Azerbaijanis, being long-time neighbours and Muslims as well."

As it became known, when G. RAzumovsky was in Baku he was sure that NKAO had been given to Azerbaijan by Khruschev just at the time he had given the Crimea to Ukraine.

Party and state officials that had always been clear in expressing their opinion on "socialism with human face" and "grin of capitalism", suddenly became too much like Aesop in relation to the Karabakh events, for one had to guess what they meant after each their statement.

There were the following words in Gorbachev's address to the peoples of Azerbaijan and Armenia, "to raise the question of transferring NKAO from the Azerbaijan SSR to the Armenian SSR…" and further without comments on this. And it meant nothing but that there was a problem but no solution to it yet.

On 8 February, 1988, signatures are collected in Stepanakert with demands to transfer NKAO from the Azerbaijan SSR to the Armenian SSR.

Baku thinks that it takes a resolute step that however ends with a total failure. A dreadful blow on the Azerbaijan statehood was administered willy-nilly by the second secretary of the CC of Communist Party of Azerbaijan Vasily Konovalov. Moderately intelligent, moderately weak-willed, always hiding his own opinion under quotes of Marxism-Leninism, checking his every step up with Moscow, he was the first to cross the line of fire of the blossoming separatism, without even realizing that.

On 11 February, 1988, a big delegation of high-ranking officials from Azerbaijan arrived in Stepanakert. The delegation was headed by the second secretary of the CC of Communist Party of Azerbaijan Vasily Konovalov. He was accompanied by representatives of security agencies of Azerbaijan - KGB, Ministry of Internal Affairs, public prosecutor's office, Supreme Court etc.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the bureau of regional committee of the party headed by the first secretary Boris Kevorkov and of the bureau of city committee of the party headed by the first secretary Zaven Movsesyan.

Konovalov was the first to speak. His speech was full of Communist quotes and ended as follows. "We know each of the organizers by names and promise to isolate them from society. Wisdom of the people, including activists, comes to the condemnation of this separatism. Karabakh has always been flourishing as a part of the republic; it was, is and will be an inseparable part of Azerbaijan. "

Kevorkov actually repeated the words of Konovalov, "Be sure, Karabakh was and will be an inseparable part of Azerbaijan, this is the only way we see the future of our people" and somehow remembered mixed marriages.

Several trained participants spoke after him, expressing their perplexity at the "actions of some extremists" in a studied voice. The headmaster of School N10 A. Pogosyan complained that the school roof is leaky and that people should do real work instead of collecting signature. The chairman of the furniture plant trade union M. Shakhramanyan said that in the Great Patriotic War Azerbaijanis and Armenians had defended Motherland together and would continue living together and different emissaries would not stop them. It was evident that all speakers had some studied unenthusiastic tone.

Then, all of a sudden, the head of motorcade 2718 of Stepanakert transport association Maxim Mirzoyan appeared on the rostrum. Here are some extracts from his speech.

"My father once wrote foul words about Hitler on Reichstag walls. Now they write such words about my mother Karabakh… With your consent, Comrade Konovalov, a spring is being built in Shusha symbolizing the coat of arms of Turkey, a member of NATO… Signboards in Armenian completely disappeared from Shusha. There are those in Azerbaijani, Russian and even English, though Englishmen do not come here. But perhaps, you want them to come like in 1918? Everyone knows how it ended for the Armenians… Baku is getting fat, Stepanakert is getting sick…" and so on.

It was clear that he was a well-trained PROVOCATEUR, a kind of local Ighityan! A provocateur that was to define the mood of the audience like a litmus paper. The panel grew agitated, beginning to realize what was going on. Konovalov tried to calm down… the panel. The suddenly limp Konovalov addressed the speaker with the words, "What are you suggesting?" "A referendum," snapped Mirzoyan and came down from the rostrum. THE MOMENT OF TRUTH CAME. It was the moment when much if not all depended on Konovalov and his resolute actions. It was the moment when bright speeches were requited, giving numerous facts on the provocative activity of domestic and foreign forces in the region that had been breaking peace in the region. It was the meeting where it should have been declared that most strict measures would be taken right after the meeting against those violating Soviet laws. The USSR still existed and such measures were within the frame of the Constitution. According to one of the eyewitnesses, Konovalov rose up and addressed the audience peacefully, "We should not strain the situation but seek a compromise solution!" THAT WAS THE FIRST MISTAKE OF KONOVALOV! After him, Kevorkov threw some unintelligible remark, "We will stay a part of Azerbaijan anyway!" The audience realized that Baku representatives wavered and a turning point came.

The first to speak was V. Sarkisyan, who attacked Kevorkov and secretary of the city committee Mirzoyan, swearing.

A member of the regional committee, the director of Carshelkokombinat R. Atayan mounted the rostrum, took some piece of paper out of his pocket and said, "This is the speech I received from you, but I myself support referendum" and left the rostrum.

No sooner had the next speaker, the party organizer of Stepanakert Pedagogical Institute B. Farajev, reach the rostrum than the entire audience started catcalling him immediately, as if at a command; people were shouting, bellowing, stamping their feet, waving their fists. The well-known joke "The difference between democracy and democratization is nearly the same as between a canal and canalization" suited there perfectly well.

Farajev was desperately looking at the panel. Instead of supporting the speaker and enter a fierce debate with provocateurs who were still in minority, Konovalov stood up and left the room. He was followed by the members of the panel. THAT WAS THE SECOND MISTAKE OF KONOVALOV!

To support the "results" of the meeting, many thousands of marchers gather to conduct a demonstration in Stepanakert the next day. The marchers demand that Konovalov speak, whereas the latter demands that the demonstration be broken up, demands a phone call to someone in Moscow, that is makes an impression of a totally lost person.

According to one of the CC employees who witnessed those events, the head of administrative department of the Azerbaijan Communist Party Central Committee M. Asadov suggested conducting new meeting of the active, inviting ministers that had their own departments in NKAO, organizing an alternative meeting of Azerbaijanis living in Stepanakert, Shusha and adjacent villages, in one word, so as not to miss the initiative. And he was right!

As for Konovalov, he kept on saying the same, that the situation should not be strained! THAT WAS HIS THIRD MISTAKE! Just the opposite, such behaviour of the delegation only continued to strain the situation!

Instead of gathering forces and striking the chief ideological blow on the centre of the dawning separatism, Stepanakert, Konovalov organizes such a meeting in Askeran and Gadrut to restore his reputation. THAT WAS HIS FOURTH MISTAKE!

According to Armenian sources, during the meeting of activists in Stepanakert A. Karapetyan, known in Karabakh as "Dashnak Ago" laid chickie and rushed to Askeran to tell the news about the failure of the delegation from Baku.

That gave them opportunity to prepare for the arrival of the Baku delegation. Hardly had the meeting begun when the director of Nakhchivan state farm Y. Israelyan and the headmaster of the secondary school A. Avanesyan forced their way to the stage.

The former said that he could not solve any problem in Baku without a bribe, so, he would not submit to Baku any longer. The latter declared that he had already dug his grave and would fight for the reunion with Armenia to the end. They played the same part as Mirzoyan in Stepanakert. In Gadrut region, the delegation was met by a crowd blocking the road, and the delegation returned to Baku.

Both in Askeran and in Gadrut region, the pitch was set by the "mobile group" from Stepanakert. The most active members of that group were obviously not from among the local population. It became clear afterwards that they had been emissaries from Yerevan.

Baku lost the opening of the fierce confrontation with Armenia. It is generally known that when you play against a skilled opponent, it is very hard to correct opening mistakes. Both Baku and Moscow knew that NKAO separatism had been initiated by Armenia!

The author by no means blames Konovalov for all that happened in Stepanakert, since it was rather his misfortune than fault. Before he arrived in Baku, he had supervised the Baltic republics, which he knew nothing about, as the head of a branch in the CPSU CC.

Proteges of Moscow in republics performed mainly gendarme functions and had little interest in their long-standing problems. Konovalov was worried about the Karabakh problem nearly as much as the health of his mother-in-law; however he was rather concerned about his political career. His peasant mind realized that something uncharacteristic of the USSR political life was going on. Moscow did not express its attitude towards the events clearly, which could not but alert him and affect his actions.

Nothing human was alien to Konovalov, as it often was the case in the USSR with the "hands of Moscow".

According to one of Konovalov's employees, when Konovalov was leaving Baku his belongings hardly went into three carriages, as bribes then were taken in the form of furniture, refrigerators, carpets, paintings, jewellery etc.

When Vasily Nikolaevich arrived in Baku for the first time, he had only his party membership card, appointment resolution and a travelling bag.

On 12 February, the first meeting took place in Stepanakert, the participants of which demanded annexing NKAO to Armenia. These meetings became days-long.

It became evident immediately that those meetings were not spontaneous as the Armenian side tried to show to the public; they were well considered and organized as a deep echelon system.

"This is confirmed with numerous facts, in particular, TV and radio appearances of certain individuals on the eve and during the events, purposeful rumours and conjectures, long-term preparation of well-tested mass manifestations on the pattern of American shows (dramatized strikes, organized transfer of people masses, dividing thousands and hundreds of thousands people into groups of five, ten, hundred, moving to the targets at the command; provocative performances with blood-stained clothes of allegedly killed people, and demonstrating a corpse of a man that actually was dead drunk). That required years, directors and experts with experience in provocations of the world scale."

These lines are an excerpt from the official document of the Azerbaijan Communist Party Central Committee. The same estimation to those demonstrations was given by the Baku Armenian Karen Brutents, deputy head of the department of CPSU CC, the representative of the Karabakh Armenians in the CPSU CC, who visited NKAO on Gorbachev's instructions.

"Conversations were held against the background of the continuous meeting outside, which resonated the agitation. I felt good organization in the rhythm of the meeting, in the regular food supply, alcohol ban (though there were two attempts to deliver it in the city), in the lack of violations, finally in the night watches at the regional committee. It was clearly the doing of "initiative groups" and their leaders…

The party organization was guided. That is also demonstrated by the fact that on 17 March, 1988, after mass manifestations and the resolution of the regional Soviet, the plenum of the party regional committee passed the following resolution. "Expressing the expectations of the Armenian population of the autonomy, the will of the overwhelming majority of the Communists of Nagorno-Karabakh, we ask the Politburo of the CPSU CC to consider and give an approval to the issue of annexing Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast to the Armenian SSR, thereby correcting the historical mistake made in the beginning of the 1920s in the determination of the territorial belonging of nagorno-Karabakh."

Both the Central Committee of the Azerbaijan SSR Communist Party and the ardent advocate of Karabakh separatists have the same opinion of those meetings. Meanwhile, all Soviet and foreign mass media were shouting about spontaneous public disturbance.

A new stage of the organized separatism, strikes began.

Totally, there were 10 strikes in the regions in 1988-1989. 1988: 22 February - 2 March, 15 March - 17 March, 24 March - 5 April, 12 May - 13 May, 23 May - 24 July, 12 September - 9 October, 14 November - 7 December. 1989: 13 February, 6 March -13 March, 3 May - 21 August. In other words, the region actually did not work for two years and still did not live worse than when it had worked. This means that the "strikers" had good sponsors, since such a large-scale action costs dozens of millions dollars.

The Central TV Channel many times showed interviews with the "strikers" but not a single correspondent asked them the obvious question, "What do you live on?"

On the eve of 14 February when the first demonstration was held in Stepanakert, the first black PR provocative action appeared from the separatist side, which was immediately covered by the USSR mass media. The head of the department of the Azerbaijan Communist Party Central Committee Asadov had allegedly said at the regional committee meeting that "hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis are ready to burst into Karabakh any time and make a slaughter there." He certainly had never said anything of the like. Afterwards, such provocative actions became usual practice of the Armenian side, and publication of them - usual practice of the Soviet mass media.

Collection of signatures among the NKAO population, then demonstrations, then strikes and finally, on 21 February, 1988, the regional Soviet of Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast in Stepanakert passed the following resolution. 110 voted for and 17 against the secession from Azerbaijan and joining Armenia.

The address to the presidiums of Supreme Soviets of Azerbaijan and Armenia was also passed with the request to approve the resolution. On 27 February, all facilities stopped working in Stepanakert. A meeting was held in the city under the slogans, "We need neither bread not water, we need only our mother Armenia!", "Never again with Azerbaijan!"

Everything was following the well-thought out plan of Armenia.

After those events, the Centre decides to take some "measures". On 19 February, 1988, 160 military servicemen of the special motorized militia battalion dislocated in Tbilisi were sent to NKAO by the order of the minister of internal affairs Alexander Vlasov. They were armed with plastic shields and rubber truncheons, with strict instructions on when to use them. Most funny, the officers with government-issue weapon were not recommended to take it into the city.

Those soldiers were crowding together, looking at what was going on with fear!

On 25 February, 1988, Federal Agency for Government Communications and Information organized a phone conversation between M. Gorbachev and G. Pogosyan. The employees of this organization were the first to appear in NKAO (so, Gorbachev was well aware of all details of the events), according to its head. As the press reported, "both sides were satisfied with the conversation". The authorities of Baku were not let into the details of it.

The intensity of separatist actions after the conversation did not wane, moreover, it considerably increased.

On 29 February, 1988, M. Gorbachev spoke at the meeting of Politburo, "There was a clash between Azerbaijanis and Armenians in Karabakh, two Azerbaijanis were killed. Leaflets spread in Yerevan, "Stop the meetings, Armenians, take weapons and kill the Turks". There was one long-range shot at the headquarters of the Soviet Army. BUT I SHOULD SAY THAT EVEN WHEN HALF A MILLION PEOPLE CAME OUT TO THE STREETS OF YEREVAN, THE ARMENIANS MAINTAINED DISCPLINE ON A HIGH LEVEL (highlighted by the author)." In other words, continue your rallies, kill Azerbaijanis but do maintain discipline on a high level!

Speaking on Azerbaijani and Armenian television on 26 February, 1988, with the information on Askeran events, the deputy public prosecutor of the USSR Katusev directly pointed the address of the murderers. The killed people were Azerbaijanis, however the Armenian black PR worker and Stepanakert began talking of 6 Armenians and closed coffins were carried around the city, which was immediately broadcast by the Central Television.

On 9 March, 1988, the first secretaries of the Armenian and the Azerbaijan Communist Parties Central Committees Demirchan and Baghirov spoke in the Central Committee of the CPSU. On 10 March, 1988, "Pravda" wrote that "the leader of our party" M.S. Gorbachev also spoke at the meeting, saying that "the most important thing now is the consistent realization of Leninist principles of national policy and consolidation of friendship between the Azerbaijan and Armenian peoples…" Gorbachev concluded, "Any aggravation of the situation can throw us back from the uneasy achievements of friendship between peoples our country has reached in the seven decades of its existence."

In that particular situation, when Armenia openly laid territorial claims to Azerbaijan and evicted Azerbaijanis from Armenia, such twaddle of Gorbachev could mean only one thing - go on, just be careful, which was further realized by Armenian extremists.

NKAO separatists were so confident in their impunity that they made Demichev, the member of Politburo and the USSR minister of culture, a sick old man, who came to Khankendi on a visit, sleep on two armchairs in the accounting department of the party regional committee.

That weak-willed man was scared of everything and everyone.

K. Brutents remembers about their joint visit in Stepanakert. "And that happened. However, before coming out of the regional committee building and rise to the stage (15 or 20 meters), he halted. Petr Nilovich was standing in front of the door, obviously scared. His face was grey, even white, and he said, "They are going to catcall me now." Then he walked the distance to the rostrum, though not too confidently. He was met with cries, "Lenin, Party, Gorbachev!" Demichev told them of Gorbachev's appeal, said some more phrases, turned round sharply and walked towards the awaiting cars without looking back. Getting in the car, I heard the rally shouting in reply to something Pogosyan has said, "We don't believe! We don't believe!"

The USSR KGB officers confirm Brutents' impressions. "Georgy Razumovsky and, for some reason, minister of culture Petr Demichev arrived in Stepanakert. None of them even knew what to talk to the rally about. Both in modern musquash caps, strict and unapproachable. We saw how much they were scared. They were always hiding in the regional committee. We hardly persuaded Razumovsky to speak before the rally. He unsuccessfully tried to persuade them to break up."

It should be pointed out that Gorbachev sent to NKAO either those who sympathized with the separatists or indifferent and weak-willed ones who were easy meat for separatists.

Those who would come from Baku for civilized negotiations were immediately violently attacked by the separatists.

On 18 March, 1988, the plenum of Nagorno-Karabakh regional committee of the Azerbaijan Communist Party made the decision on annexing NKAO to Armenia.

K. Brutents writes in his memoirs, "I visited A.N. Yakovlev on 24 February. He told that several hours ago Gorbachev had received (as far as I understood, with Yakovlev's support) the poetess S. Kaputikyan and the writer Z. Balayan. According to Yakovlev, the conversation impressed Mikhail Sergheyevich and allowed him to perceive the problem of Artsakh (the ancient name for Nagorno-Karabakh) for the first time and he felt sympathy for it. Yakovlev, who seemed to share this approach himself, encouraged me."

On arriving in Armenia, S. Kaputikyan spoke on Armenian television, sharing her impressions from her meeting with Gorbachev, "The conversation lasted about four hours… When Comrade Gorbachev noticed that we often repeated the words "Nagorno-Karabakh", he said, "I think this word means "Artsakh"…" Isn't it a call for action?!

One could not be more clear! Gorbachev and Yakovlev stuck to this position all their time in power, which in many ways determined the following events.

K. Brutents remembers, "I informed A. CHernyayev (the very Chernyayev who declared to the whole USSR that Islamic fundamentalism gained a foothold in Azerbaijan), Gorbachev's aid, about my intention and asked for support. Anatoly Sergheyevich called back very quickly and said that Gorbachev "blessed" me for such a step and entrusted me with telling the rally that a) the previous decision qualifying demonstrations and the entire movement as "nationalistic" and "extremist" was cancelled; b) a committee would be established to consider the desires and claims of the Karabakh population, the committee would consist not of officials but of impartial authoritative public figures."

That new decision of Gorbachev was the first departure from the common USSR principles: not to solve political problems through meetings and not to demand anything from the authorities but only welcome them.

Gorbachev actually gave the Karabakh separatists carte blanche.

They realized that quickly and continued their cause with renewed strength.

K. Brutents remembers further, "Returning to Moscow from the actually vain but very instructive trip, I reported its results and my impressions to M.S> Gorbachev.

1. The mood in Nagorno-Karabakh covers wide sections of the population and is actually shared by the party activists and even the heads of the party organization;

a) they are convinced that only outside Azerbaijan can they normally develop and be preserved as an ethnic group in the given territory."

Gorbachev's message where the previous decision qualifying demonstrations and the entire movement as "nationalistic" and "extremist" was cancelled and a committee was to be established to consider the desires and claims of the Karabakh population, consisting not of officials but of impartial authoritative public figures, gradually turned into the belief that only outside Azerbaijan can they normally develop and be preserved as an ethnic group in the given territory. That was the first official docking on the anti-Azerbaijan orbit Moscow - Stepanakert.

During the visit of the head of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev in the United States of America in December, his spouse Raisa Gorbacheva met the representatives of "Dashnaktsutyun". The famous journalist T. Chaladze writes, "In the Caucasus, that meeting had the same effect as the one that would obviously be produced by some message of the following kind, "The head of the state visited Rudolf Hess in "Schpan-dau" and had a long and friendly conversation with him at breakfast." For "Dashnaktsutyun" is an organization having a wide foreign network everywhere representatives of Armenian diaspora live and was banned as nationalistic. However, after the top-level reception a report appeared in the Soviet press that for the first time since the anti-Soviet mutiny in 1921, "Dashnaktsutyun" party would have its own central office, publishing organ and information centre in Armenia."

D. Furman and S. Asenius write, "…whereas nationalistic mentality with its trends for self-deceit and mythologems considered the return of the Turkish Armenia as a distant and hardly achievable task, to get Nagorno-Karabakh with the assistance of Moscow seemed quite realistic." And that was getting more and more realistic after Gorbachev's each step on the Karabakh problem.

In March 1988, the high party authorities changed in Armenia and Azerbaijan ("due to health reasons"), K. Demirchan and K. Baghirov were correspondingly replaced with S. Arutyunyan and A. Vezirov.

The same month, "Karabakh" committee appeared on the political stage with the blessing of A. Yakovlev, immediately declaring its support for Gorbachev's perestroika, in the process of which the Karabakh issue was to be solved.

On 24 March, 1988, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Council of Ministers passed the resolution "On the measures to accelerate economic development of NKAO of the Azerbaijan SSR in 1988-1995". That meant nothing but encouragement to move from the current stage and go further!

The Armenians needed not any other blessing from the head of the country!

"Ostankino" dares to take an uncommon step (surely, with a certain purpose) and secretly prepares a programme titled "Nagorno-Karabakh. Thinking aloud" where mainly Sumgayit events were considered. The programme was not announced in advance to stop Baku from taking preventive measures. It was suddenly broadcast in prime time in April 1988, as a special issue, and Baku suffered a powerful information blow.

After numerous speeches of the Armenian leader, Baku was looking forward to the first appearance of Vezirov on TV. Finally, it happened. In the conversation with his old friend Anatoly Lysenko, Vezirov spoke of mafioso groups in Azerbaijan for a whole hour, showing in gestures how we were to fight them, of friendship between peoples, of the unused potential of Socialism etc.

The Karabakh issue was touched upon just in passing, like an unfortunate misunderstanding in the process of perestroika, that would end soon with a strong handshake of both sides.

Vezirov obviously appealed to the Moscow intellectuals. It should be said that the most difficult and irresistible problem for Baku was the attitude of intellectuals and democrats in the period of perestroika, since their position was unambiguous and stable… pro-Armenian.

Those democrats included committed ones, and those who hated Muslim world, and those who were sincere in their assessment of the events. However, none of them actually understood what was going on in the USSR. Even if there were few who did, they did not want to. Vezirov had many friends among the intellectuals of Moscow and was sure of their support. But he was mistaken.

As we were told, A. Vezirov tried to convince the representative of Interregional group G. Popov ("one of the darkest and most repulsive figures of that period of the Russian history", according to Legostayev) in something for a solid hour, while the latter listened to him with a bored look and clearly wanted to end the conversation as soon as possible. Other democrat deputies had the same look while listening to Vezirov.

Even if some of them were genuine democrats they were Christian ones. After the well-known events, Baku understood what it meant.

With regard to anti-Azerbaijan statements of Moscow intellectuals in press in the beginning of the events, Baku believed that they had simply been misled by Armenian separatists and soon would realize the meaning of what was going on and change their attitude to the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict.

A certain amount of time passed and it became evident that if someone was naive, it was Baku. Moscow intellectuals knew everything about the matter but nevertheless they did not change their attitude a bit.

Dmitry Bykov described the liberal intellectuals in connection with the events in the USSR and Gorbachev's attitude to them precisely and neatly, "One thing is clear. Instead of condemning definitely any nationalism, any attempt to put national interests before universal ones at the very start, Gorbachev considered national interests a demonstration of freedom and endured all this, trying to save his face before the liberal intellectuals. I must say that I have never seen anything more disgusting than liberal intellectuals in my life. They are the very scoundrels and cowards described by Blok, who cheerfully fuss around the fire, putting more slivers into it, and then start to yell, "We're burning!" The crudest nationalism had full attention and respect of a considerable part of Russian liberals in the end of the eighties. Gorbachev failed to take a definite and sound position in this issue. " We can only add that when the favourites of liberal intellectuals made a slaughter in Khodjaly, liberal intellectuals should have shout in unison, "We're burning!", if they had had a bit of decency. But they pretended that nothing happened! And they were bought again, for umpteenth time, both by wholesale and retail!

In the Soviet period, liberal intellectuals expressed their loathing for Communists at their kitchen get-togethers and in the time of Gorbachev's perestroika the Karabakh events made them shift all their bilious hatred (they always have to hate someone) to Azerbaijan that had suffered from the Soviet power much more than these liberal intellectuals who had lived not that bad owing to their unscrupulousness.

There is an essay on the site of A. Goryanin. "1987. Rallies in Stepanakert. What is that? Glasnost together with the speech of Avel Aganbegyan in Paris yielded its bitter fruit. Shall we gather in the first harvest? NKAO should belong not to the Azerbaijan SSR but to the Armenian SSR. The existence of the USSR is actually forgotten somehow. Have we ever seen something like that before? Perhaps, after 1918-1920? Oh, sorry, my fault, it happened once. In 1978. A fight during dancing with a lethal outcome. Comrade Andropyan (mother's maiden name) came and everything faded away of itself (?) somehow. In 1987 there was no such Andropyan. But there they are, Bonner-Sakharov, Starovoytova and other vociferous crowd of human rights activists (Sheynis, Batkin, Oskotsky). Abkhasiz, Central Asia, North Caucasia are looking and biting on that already. Happy first conflict! Ethnic one. Something Hitler dreamed of. Could he ever poke his nose here without a hope for an ethnic issue? Newspapers… TV screens… are swarming with Korotich, Bella Shkurkova, Natan Rybak, Shatrov. "Ogonyok, Moscow News, Noviy mir and Drujba narodov" Repentance, View, Fifth Wheel! Grossman, Konetskym Zhvanetsky. And here it is Askeran (two Azerbaijanis, first victims of "miatsum"). And here it is Sumgayit, disorders, pillage and rape of Armenians. Yakovlev (democrap) in Yerevan, Ligachev (conservative) in Baku. Historical excursions of both sides. "Stone of Mashtots or trace of the hoop of Shakh Ismail's horse", who will win?"

Everyone has a right for their own view of the Karabakh events without insulting peoples, which is what the author of this essay does, saying certain names. He skilfully covered the liberal intellectuals who actively interfered in the Karabakh events. We can add that that circle of persons not only took pro-Armenian position, which they had a right for, but also repeatedly made insulting statements about the Azerbaijan people.

On 18 July, 1988, the meeting of the USSR Supreme Council Presidium was held where the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh was discussed. H. Aliyev remembers, "Remember the meeting of the USSR Supreme Council Presidium (the part where the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh was discussed - Author). Gromyko remained silent throughout the whole meeting. Gorbachev, a member of the Supreme Council, never let him even open his mouth. He was acting like the secretary of a district committee at the collective farm party meeting, interrupting anyone, suppressing everyone. With 2 years of perestroika left behind, he was never tired of speaking about new mentality, pluralism, democracy. Yet, his behaviour remained that of a dictator."

The first secretary of the Nagorno-Karabakh regional committee of the party Ghenrikh Pogosyan spoke at that meeting, emphasizing the impossibility for NKAO to further remain a part of the Azerbaijan SSR. Gorbachev did not interrupt him. He did not receive the appropriate rebuff from anyone. Everyone was saying that the USSR borders were unchangeable but that they nevertheless felt sympathy for the Karabakh Armenians. The scenario was that human feelings of the Karabakh separatists were understandable but the USSR Constitution must not be changed.

At the same meeting the resolution was passed on allocating 400 million roubles (about 600 million US dollars) subsidy for Nagorno-Karabakh, which was unprecedented aid at that time.

Stepanakert immediately "responded" to that aid by hanging a big poster at the entrance to the city, "The demand for the reunion with Armenia is not a demand of a hungry stomach but that of a yearning soul." Yet they took the money.

Social "problems" that had been worrying the Soviet public so much were forgotten.

It was well-known then how to fight separatism and associated terrorism. An effective method was found after many years of unsuccessful struggle against Irish separatism. All economic channels to separatists were blocked and they were virtually defeated.

Gorbachev was also well aware of that, so were those who had to know that duty-bound.

However, there was totally different approach to the Karabakh separatism, material and other aid to separatists after the beginning of the movement both from the state and from private individuals being increased manyfold!

The meeting of the Presidium was broadcast on the Central Television of the USSR and caused compassion of the Soviet people for Karabakh separatists; they knew the worth of the USSR Constitution that said one thing, while different things happened in reality.

None of the Soviet mass media or famous politicians then paid no attention to the fact that all the chief demands included in the regulations of "Krunk" and voiced at the meetings in Stepanakert in the beginning of the separatist movement, at the 18 July meeting of the USSR Supreme Council Presidium, HAD BEEN CARRIED OUT! Only several years later, though in a different aspect, "Zerkalo mirovoy pressy" N7, 27 February - 6 March, 1991, wrote, "Meeting of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Council on 18 July, 1988. In July 1988, a resolution was passed reduced to the support of economic and cultural development of NKAO including its economic and cultural relations with Armenia. That was very important in February and might have helped to ease the tension but in July, the resolution was lagging behind the changes in people's minds and therefore was almost useless." The statement is correct as a fact but it is far from reality as it fails to estimate the depth of the processes in NKAO. All talks of cultural, economic and similar demands of the Karabakh separatists were just a cover for the main thing, the occupation of the Azerbaijan territory by Armenia! They had a clear and intelligent way of measuring their steps with the dynamics of Gorbachev's perestroika, taking into consideration the specific character of the time. Gorbachev began his perestroika with glasnost, continues with criticism of everything and everyone and consistently did away with the CPSU as the only political power in the USSR etc. And the process started moving from one place to another! Karabakh separatism developed according to the similar scheme. Their demands toughened as the disorders grew; when Gorbachev's process started Armenian unleashed direct aggression against Azerbaijan. Vezirov made another strategic mistake. It was Volsky and not Vezirov who invited first secretaries of Azerbaijan and Armenian Communist Parties Central Committees A. Vezirov and S. Arutyunyan to NKAO; and Vezirov agreed to come. In March 1988, S. Arutyunyan was appointed first secretary of the Armenian Communist Party Central Committee. On 15 June, 1988, the new first secretary Suren Arutyunyan conducted the session of the Supreme Council of Armenia where he approved the annexation of NKAO to Armenia; on 27 July, 1988, feeling his duty complete, he arrived in NKAO together with Vezirov, where A. Volsky demonstrated who was the host in NKAO, treating Vezirov like a honourable guest, speaking of some projects that he had arranged with Moscow, of additional investments in the region, and, the most important thing, of the new intensity in the development of economic and cultural relations with Armenia.

On 12 September, 1988, an organized crowd in Stepanakert attacked the district public prosecutor's office, demanding release of all who had been detained recently and attempting to punish the public prosecutor's office employees that escaped from the building under convoy of armed guards. Stepanakert was left without the "eye of the state" and disorders began against Azerbaijanis; 125 Azerbaijan houses were burned in Stepanakert and 200 were pillaged.

In the late September 1988, more than 12,000 Azerbaijanis were evicted from Stepanakert.

On 16 November, 1988 deforestation began in Topkhane near Shusha, as Kanaker aluminium plant started an illegal construction of a timber shop. The authorities in Baku responded with a march of protest. That authorized meeting made a strange impression. The well-trained speakers spoke as if the main problem in the "united family of peoples" was preservation of forest in Topkhane. Karabakh was set on fire by separatists, blood was flowing, Azerbaijanis were driven away from NKAO, while speakers at the meeting were talking of the valuable trees in Topkhane and some of them sharing nostalgic memories of childhood spent in that forest.

On 1 December, 1988 Gorbachev met representatives of Azerbaijan and Armenia. Here are some of his statements at the meeting, "party and Soviet organs in both Caucasian republics lost control of the events…", "not just confusion but unscrupulousness… some of party activists shifted from internationalist positions ", "the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh became a convenient cover for anti-state activity", "under the guise of demand of fair solution of the Karabakh issue an open struggle for power is going on", "anti-perestroika forces, corrupted elements…" Gorbachev demanded change "the position of all our staff in key issues…", "staff decides everything…", "it is necessary to conduct uncompromised struggle against those who provoke people disorders, sow rumours, stir up ethnic hatred", punish those who discharge "people according to their ethnicity". And finally, "there should be neither "winners" nor "losers".

Vezirov spoke to Gorbachev as if his heart was breaking, "Armenia has unilaterally annexed Nagorno-Karabakh!" and heard a jeer in response, "If they annexed it unilaterally, then you release it unilaterally, too."

Gorbachev's aid G. Shakhnazarov attacked Vezirov physically, in literal sense.

According to eyewitnesses, G. Shakhnazarov seized Vezirov at the sleeve of the jacket and cried out, "History will not forgive you. Today, you have trampled an entire people!"

An old friend of Vezirov, a well-known publicist A. Kiknadze writes in his book "Baku Horseshoe", "Vezirov said in a conversation with Gorbachev, "The events are unfolding threateningly fast. The leadership of Azerbaijan deems it necessary to declare the state of emergency in the regions bordering with Armenia and also in NKAO where armed assaults on our villages became more frequent." Gorbachev answered, "I agree, but our comrades suggest declaring the state of emergency in Baku as well. What do you think about it?" Vezirov: "We should not do it by any means. Blood will be shed…"

"Free-tongued, Gorbachev curses the separatists and promises emotionally, "You can rely on my full support and assistance."

When the time comes for that support and assistance, when the ice floe starts sinking, Mikhail Sergeyevich will take a step aside, break his promises and betray."

The author knew well the remarkable publicist, deep and polymathic analyst and, most importantly, a very decent man Alexander Kiknadze and is grateful to his for remembering the author of these lines among other Bakuvians in his sincere book "Baku Horseshoe". And not only in that one. And the author is more than convinced that Vezirov consulted Kiknadze about the personality of Gorbachev and that Kiknadze certainly told him about Gorbachev's both personal and political unreliability. The author remembers the predictive estimates Kiknadze gave in the fifties to political and sports figures, scientists, journalists, sportsmen, the estimates that were inevitably bound to be confirmed afterwards. "He is not just a great scientist, but he is also a man that loves his Motherland infinitely!" Kiknadze said about Khudu Mamedov. Time showed that he had been right! Kiknadze could not but figure Gorbachev our and share his finding with his old friend!

On 24 December, 1988 a famous civil activist Academician Andrey Sakharov visited Stepanakert. He poured all the bile he had accumulated in the exile in Gorky on Baku. He repeated all his accusations against the USSR in Stepanakert, only then they were directed against Azerbaijan.

Shaghen Mkrtchan writes in his book "Artsakh" (Yerevan, "Ayastan", 1991), "The great humanist Sakharov also visited Karabakh and its capital. He saw no difference between Czechoslovakia of 1968 and Karabakh of 1988, between Berlin wall and Lachin road, between self-determination right of Baltic countries and that of Artshakh." Shaghen Mkrtchan does not finish. "The great humanist Sakharov" directly called in Stepanakert for "the armed struggle against the oppressors."

"The old and helpless Sakharov was in cold blood stirring up a war in Nagorno-Karabakh, but as soon as someone dared to make an objection, a swarm of his sensitive associates began put the "aggressive majority" to shame, and that majority shyly hid again," Information and Technology Centre of Central Committee of the Russian Federation Communist Party writes. It should be said that the centre made a precise observation of this peculiarity in the discussion of the Karabakh problem at all Soviet forums. A democrat and anti-Communist, A. Sakharov writes to Gorbachev concerning NKAO, "A people that denies another people its right of self-determination cannot be free itself. Marx, Engels and Lenin said that." At that time the author used to listen to "Western voices" that did not conceal their sympathy when commenting his speeches in Stepanakert. It was clear that the informational blow Sakharov struck at Baku was comparable to that Baku received after Sumgayit events.

Baku took "counteractions" common for Soviet propaganda. Some scientists and Heroes of Socialist Labour were speaking on local TV, throwing mud on Sakharov from all their hearts, though not to the point. Fortunately, those broadcasts were not seen anywhere except Azerbaijan itself. Informational blockade can sometimes be useful!

Owing to the efforts of Sakharov's wife Y. Bonner-Alikhanyan, this tradition was continued; after Sakharov's death, on 19 July, 1991 a delegation of the First International Academician Sakharov Congress headed by the vice speaker of the House of Lords of the British Parliament Caroline Cox visited NKAO. Baroness Cox, who has visited Nagorno-Karabakh over 30 times since then, more than her family estate, continues to protect the "self-determination right of the Karabakh Armenians" actively and persistently, both internationally and in the parliament of Great Britain.

Though the leaders of England say that Caroline Cox does not express the official attitude of the English government, her opinion is not reputed. So much like the policy of good old England!

The powerful Armenian propaganda reached actually all corners of the world. After meetings with Gorbachev, a slogan was heard at the meetings in Stepanakert, "Lenin - Party = Gorbachev. Hitler - Stalin - Ligachev" . In Yerevan, before many thousands of marchers, the secretary of the CPSU CC Yakovlev called the separatism of Stepanakert "national-liberation movement". For the sake of objectivity, let us say that this behaviour of Yakovlev was openly pointed out by A. Mutalibov at the congress of people's deputies.

The main ideologist of this doctrine and the entire perestroika was the secretary of the PSU CC Alexander Yakovlev, this defrocked ideologist (according to N. Zenkovich).

Vladimir Lutsenko was the head of Z department of the USSR KGB; Valery Khmelev took the post of the head of a section at the same department. According to them, Z department was engaged in ethnic issues. Information on ethnic issues in Russia and the USSR was stored here. They received requests for aid and information from the Central Committee of the Party, Ministry of Justice, Supreme Council and other offices. Both of them were on official business in Azerbaijan and Armenia those days.

"'How could the leaders of the country, having both Z special department and historical experience, miss the brewing conflict between the Azerbaijanis and the Armenians?' they were asked.

'Both Politburo and the Supreme Council knew that the conflict was brewing,' they replied. 'We submitted all the appropriate information. However, no measures were taken before the first open actions in Stepanakert, though there was that alerting march in October 1987 from Abovyan to Yerevan. Thousands of greens expressed their protest against the construction of a nuclear power plant and operation of "Nairit" chemical plant. Calls for taking Karabakh from Azerbaijan could be heard as early as then. When people with posters, red flags and banners saying "Lenin, Party, Gorbachev!", "Independence for Karabakh!" appeared in the streets of Stepanakert, Politburo decided to act in old fashion, that is, if there is a problem, officials should be sent.

No matter what officials, what is important is the fact of sending them.

Georgy Razumovsky and, for some reason, minister of culture Petr Demichev arrived in Stepanakert. None of them even knew what to talk to the rally about. Both in modern musquash caps, strict and unapproachable. We saw how much they were scared.

They were always hiding in the regional committee. We hardly persuaded Razumovsky to speak before the rally. He unsuccessfully tried to persuade them to break up. But the crowd did not want to. People got down on their knees and asked independence for Karabakh.Razumovsky retreated, he and Demichev got in the car and rushed to Baku. They had packed so quickly that Razumovsky even forgot his coat in the regional committee, so then they had to come back for it from Baku, almost 300 km.'

'Surely, you reported all disorders to Moscow. What kind of answers did you receive from Kremlin?' asked the correspondent.

'After Sumgayit events, a meeting of Politburo was held in Moscow. A closed one. After which Yegor Ligachev went to Baku and Alexander Yakovlev to Yerevan. However, one of them suddenly said that Karabakh was a historical territory of Armenia, while the other said just the opposite, no borders revision, Karabakh would stay a part of Azerbaijan. We do not know who handed over the information on the decision made at the closed Politburo meeting, but the fact remains. Every week, memos were sent to Gorbachev with detailed description of the situation and the KGB proposals on the settlement of the conflict. They were signed by V. Kryuchkov. Sometimes the memos were prepared together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Justice. Alexander Yakovlev happened to sign such a document once. But Mikhail Gorbachev appended the following instructions on all of them, "Make your proposals"…"

Armenia made its proposal at the very start and Gorbachev and his circle realized it stringently!

In his book Diary of the Aide of the USSR President, chapter 1 On the Bumps of Perestroika, 9 October, 1988, A.S. Chernyayev writes, "On Friday, Gorbachev sent for me and Shakhnazarov. He kissed him congratulating on the occasion of his 64th birthday. We talked about the coming trip to the UN, and to Kuba and London as well. Then in passing, we made Kvitsinsky the head of the International department of the Central Committee instead of Dobrynin. And suddenly he burst out concerning Karabakh. He stood up in front of us, while we were sitting, and said, "I want it to be humanly, for the people start talking to one another again, I don't want blood there… There are corrupted figures. Demirchan (the first secretary of Armenia) gathers his folks, Baku mobilized its forces, Armenian intellectuals are broke, with nothing to suggest, nothing that could help to solve the whole thing. BUT I DON'T KNOW THE SOLUTION MYSELF. IF I DID I WOULD NOT CONSIDER ANYTHING THAT WE HAVE NOW OR ANYTHING THAT HAS FORMED ALREADY AND SO ON. BUT I DON'T KNOW!" (highlighted by the author) Then he mentioned Aliyev's case and said that they were digging and the case promised to be more serious than that of Rashid." This conversation of the three sworn enemies of Azerbaijan contains important information. The man, who has full authority in a superpower and necessary information from the whole world, does not know how to solve a problem in his state and tells that to the strong and aggressive side, Armenia. Only those too far from politics can doubt if Shakhnazarov immediately reported about that conversation to the Armenian side through his own channels.

V.I. Boldin writes, "He (Gorbachev - Author) did not trust even Shakhnazarov in everything (yet he consulted him on every issue - Author), often complaining that solutions on the Karabakh problem leaked to the Armenian diaspora…

After the leakage of extremely important foreign information from one meeting of Security Council and became known to those it concerned, Gorbachev charged V.A. Kryuchkov with investigating the circumstances and also ordered that aids and advisers should not attend the Security Council meetings any more."

According to the memoirs of V.A. Kryuchkov, the leakage of important information, to the Armenian diaspora as well, continued and he hints at certain persons who were close to Shakhnazarov.

Knowing about the pressure exerted upon the actually defenceless Azerbaijan, the General Secretary has no solution but relies on Armenian intellectuals. He realized that whereas he had no solution, others, lower in ranks, would always have solutions of local issues under the pressure and owing to the bribes of the powerful Armenian lobby in the USSR, which formed a whole anti-Azerbaijan system in total. He was well aware that unlike Yerevan, Baku had no support either in the USSR or in the world. The lack of a clear position of the USSR leaders on the Karabakh problem put Baku in a desperate situation, as the leaders of the republic pinned all their hopes on the Centre. For Yerevan, it meant that no position is a position, too!

The numerous facts of constitutional abuses, months-long strikes in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, eviction of Azerbaijanis from their long-occupied places, disarmament of Soviet military units and seizure of their weapons, formation of armed groups, unpunished murders and many other things… but the head of the state has no solution! And all this happens within the limits of a united state! A conclusion suggests itself for the Armenian side after receiving this important information: go on, margin of safety has not been reached yet, Gorbachev is not going to take any steps! And they went on and on, even on a larger scale! Not only did the Armenian side understand but also was informed in detail on all subtleties of the situation and modified its actions accordingly.

Baku felt the danger and sounded the alarm, though without informing the public, which was quite in the manner of socialist "friendship" of peoples.

KGB Lieutenant Colonel Aydyn Abdullayev wrote, "In the course of 1987, Stepanakert department of the KGB informed Baku about the actions of Yerevan emissaries and activity of "Krunk", including the party leaders of NKAO Armenian districts. (Among the four NKAO districts, Mardakert, Martuni, Gadrut and Shusha, only the latter was Azerbaijani.) The republican KGB reported to the Soviet KGB and of course to the leadership of Azerbaijan. The USSR KGB as usually reported to the CPSU CC. Baku department of the KGB received no guidelines from there, except one "Do not interfere". Requests from the Central Committee of the Azerbaijan Communist Party had the same response, "Do not take any measures!"

The passive position of Moscow and Baku led to what was bound to happen. On 12 July, 1988, the session of the district Soviet of people's deputies of NKAO made a decision on the secession from the Azerbaijan SSR.

With regard to that session, A. Yakovlev said to the Azerbaijan side, "The Armenians are a proud people, we can consider the application of the NKAO deputies later, when dust settles in Yerevan." But everything was only beginning!

In full accordance with Gorbachev's style, a resolution was passed by the CC Politburo, which said that borders of the republics were unchangeable and "the problem of perestroika should be finally resolved". Everyone could interpret this resolution in their own way but it was in favour of the Armenians on the whole, since for the first time after Lenin and Stalin, the Centre made some concessions and actually suggested that the republics should decide the problems themselves, thereby cancelling the common notion of the "friendship of peoples".

The head of the USSR KGB V. Kryuchkov knew the point of what was going on in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh better than anyone. He knew everything, owing to the information from abroad and Azerbaijan KGB as well.

However, his speeches are full of general meaningless words. "Vyshka" wrote on 9 September, 1988, "He said, "The KGB has the information that the secret services, anti-Socialist centres of imperialistic states are carefully watching the ethnic relations situation in our country… They have recently increased their efforts in stirring up nationalistic, chauvinistic and separatist sentiments in different regions with the purpose of undermining the unity of the Soviet state, weakening its economic and defensive power, and even direct inspiration of extremism and mass disorders."

Incorruptible and high principled Soviet generals (not all of them were like Lebed), who tried to fight separatism in NKAO, immediately became objects of persecution and terrorism. And most painfully, the supreme command did not protect them.

Major General Yuri Kosolapov was appointed the first commandant of the state of emergency region in NKAO. His first order banned all mass actions, closed anti-Constitutional "Miatsum" movement, all unofficial organizations and their publishing organs. Persons without NKAO registration were to leave Nagorno-Karabakh within three days. Curfew was declared in the region. Mass media were censored, censorship being carried out by a representative of the military commandant's office. Major General did not add anything on his behalf, the whole order was based on the emergency provision. No sooner had he issued the order than the USSR people's deputies Vachagan Grigoryan and Boris Damyan began hunting him. They told him directly that they "will throw you out of here". And they did. Three days later Kosolapov were transferred to another place to continue his service.

Kosolapov was replaced by Land Forces General Vladimir Safonov who showed himself as a principled supporter of the state on the very first day of his arrival.

Several attempts on his life were committed by separatists in Stepanakert itself but he escaped death. They tried to get at him in Rostov where he live permanently but killed by mistake his neighbour Colonel Blakhotin.

Separatists have a powerful front in Moscow, on the highest political and state level, so they could get away with all their illegal actions."

On 1 March, 1988, "Krunk" social political organization was established in NKAO, headed by the director of Stepanakert building materials complex Arkady Manucharov, "for the purpose of controlling national liberation movement of the Karabakh Armenians". Before that, law-enforcement agencies had conducted a complex inspection of the facility and grand larceny had been discovered. Manucharov was arrested for his economic crimes. The arrest was made by the USSR public prosecutor's office. And then suddenly the USSR Prosecutor General Sukharev received a phone call from the ideologist of perestroika, secretary of the CPSU CC A. Yakovlev, demanding to release Manucharov as an innocent victim of Azerbaijan intrigues. An interesting connection, isn't it? A member of the high leadership of the country and an ordinary provincial thief…

Sukharev promises Yakovlev to consider Manucharov's case carefully.

Another call follows after a while; Yakovlev reminds of his request and hears in response that it is impossible, since Manucharov's guilt is proved and unquestionable.

Nevertheless, Manucharov was soon released. It is unknown who else of the USSR leadership could call Sukharev. And that was not a single case. Two aids of the secretary of the CPSU CC Alexander Yakovlev, Valery Kuznetsov and Nikolay Kosolapov dealt all problems of Armenia and caused problems for Baku.

The well-known writer Alexander Kabakov, who took an insulting position towards the Azerbaijanis in the conflict (just read the sentence, "Two cliffs are hanging over the gorge. To the right is Shusha, the city where Azerbaijanis live today."), had nonetheless to admit that mafia had been running the "democratic" movement in NKAO. "There was plenty of underground wealth. Businessmen of shadow economy controlling hundreds of thousands and having distant and high relations lived next to the people deprived of basic conveniences. It is sufficient to say that the money returned after the arrest of one of them (Manucharov - Author) would be enough to pay month wages to hundreds of people. Capital gave those "godfathers" actual power. The frauds could compromise honest Karabakh people (?! - Author) fighting for the awakening of national self-consciousness."

Soon, those "fighting for the awakening of national self-consciousness" and mafia organizations merged.

Lieutenant Colonel of "Vympel" special operations group Erkebek Abdullayev remembers, "On 18 January, 1989 the major part of people from "Alfa" and "Vympel", a "speckled berets" platoon, a special operations company of the Soviet Army were urgently redeployed to Karabakh. I was in that composite detachment. In Stepanakert, we were given the list of seventeen activists, thirteen of whom were later seized and sent to Rostov by helicopters. They were released in 30 days." Here it is!

"Soviet Karabakh" published a provocative and hateful article against the Azerbaijanis wrote by the future "president" of NKR A. Gukasyan. In accordance with the clause 2 of the emergency provision, the author of the article was arrested and transported to Russia. Next day "Pravda" wrote, "Deputy editor-in-chief of "Soviet Karabakh" A.A. Gukasyan was arrested by administrative order in Stepanakert for rousing national hatred." The same appeared on Central Television. A high-ranking official of the Azerbaijan Communist Party Central Committee spoke on the Azerbaijan TV and said that "Moscow would nip such attacks on the friendship of peoples in the bud." Two weeks later Gukasyan was released and he appeared at a meeting in Stepanakert like a hero with new filthy statements against the Azerbaijan people.

On 23 March, 1975, the first secretary of LKSM CC of Nagorno-Karanakg Yasha Bablyan read a poem in public, in which nostalgia for "Armenian" lands in Turkey was felt. He was discharged and banished from Karabakh for that. Public readings of such poems stopped. Such were the government actions in Brezhnev's time of stagnation.

By the direct order of Gorbachev, General A. Makashov put his own life and lives of his family (General remembered that afterwards in an interview to "Komsomolskaya pravda") and arrested five leaders A. Akopyan, K. Vartanyan, S. Ghevorkyan, V. Manukyan and L. Ter-Petrosyan. By the personal directions of Gorbachev, they were given… thirty days of administrative detention and were forwarded to Butyrka.

In those thirty days Butyrka turned into a centre of Karabakh separatism. Journalists were devouring every word those "great martyrs" uttered.

Western TV channels showed portraits of those "great martyrs" against the background of Butyrka every day, presenting them just as fighters for freedom of Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians. Appeals signed by them were spread both in Armenia and in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The authority of the prisoners became incredible. "If you are not with "Karabakh" committee you are not a patriot," the entire Armenia would say.

Whereas extremism in Armenia and Karabakh was reaching its peak, the chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers N. Ryzhkov received the newly-elected president of Armenia Ter-Petrosyan and said that "Armenia was and will be a fraternal republic of the USSR" and allocated it additional means.

In those years, following the political course of Gorbachev, the USSR Council of Ministers under the leadership of N. Ryzhkov adopted a number of resolutions that withdrew NKAO from the economic territory of Azerbaijan.

On 24 March, 1988, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Council of Ministers passed the resolution "On the measures to accelerate economic development of NKAO of the Azerbaijan SSR in 1988-1995", providing measures of social economic and cultural development for all regions of Armenian communities in the Azerbaijan SSR, including Baku (?!) .

By those resolutions, the Centre stressed its special treatment of the Armenians living in Azerbaijan. There were a considerable number of regions in Azerbaijan with much worse social economic development than in NKAO. The resolutions caused indignation in Baku, while pro-Armenian "democrats" in Moscow mocked Gorbachev who "had given a piece of sausage instead of freedom."

On 12 January, 1989, a special form of government was introduced in NKAO, Committee of Special Administration that legalized all unlawful acts of the separatists.

Numerous meetings gradually transform into disorders and gangster attacks. Law enforcement groups are inactive. On 11 July, 1989 a new "support group" arrives in NKAO from Yerevan, and the situation becomes sharply aggravated. "Rallying brigades" make blockages on the roads guarded by "duty groups". In the course of clearing one of such blockages near Stepanakert, 19 servicemen of the Soviet Army were injured, some of them seriously. Gunmen ambushed three Azerbaijanis in Stepanakert. Two were killed, one wounded. The USSR mass media hushed up these facts.

Abroad, active propaganda was under way. In July 1989, a medal was produced in Venice, with the map of Armenia together with NKAO and Nakhchivan on the head. The reverse had the following words, "Oh Armenian people, your salvation is in your unity", "We are few but we are Armenians", "Karabakh is our Artsakh". Many copies of this medal were given to foreigners, especially outstanding ones. In the time of Shevardnadze, it somehow got in Soviet embassies abroad and spread everywhere. 16 years have passed and the trick is repeated. Fake, empty "money" of NKR is issued in Switzerland for the same purposes.

In September 1989 highways to Shusha district of NKAO populated by Azerbaijanis were totally blocked.

Armenian support for the NKAO separatists did not make them wait long. In November 1989, a little more than a month later, numerous attacks on Azerbaijan border villages from the territory of Armenia were registered. Gunmen from Armenia landed in Khanlar and Shaumyan regions of Azerbaijan.

Moscow acted simultaneously with the separatists. On 13 January, 1989, on the initiative of Ryzhkov, the USSR Council of Ministers passed a resolution "On measures related to the introduction of Special form of government in Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast". First of all, the USSR Council of Ministers obliged to distinguish the rates of social and economic development in NKAO as special ones (detached from the Azerbaijan SSR). That was undoubtedly Sitaryan's doing.

NKAO Department of the Interior was placed under the direct authority of the USSR, thereby giving the NKAO separatists permission to evict all Azerbaijanis, since there was no one left to protect them.

Nagorno-Karabakh territorial edition and production department was formed by the order of Goskomstat of the USSR.

On 6 May the USSR Council of Ministers passed another resolution approving withdrawal of industrial facilities and organizations of NKAO from the authority of the Azerbaijan SSR and passing them under the authority of facilities of Russia.

A resolution of the USSR Council of Ministers subsidized and realized on a most tight timetable the construction of Yerevan - Goris radio relay link. That high-capacity relay station provided broadcasting of Armenian TV programmes in Stepanakert and actually in the whole NKAO. At that moment it was a deadly informational blow on Baku.

On 12 January, 1989, the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Council establishes the Committee of Special Administration of NKAO headed by A. Volsky. Thus, NKAO was actually withdrawn from the administrative authority of Azerbaijan. At the same time, the activity of the regional committee of the party and regional Soviet of people's deputies was temporarily suspended, working apparatus of these organizations being subordinated to the Committee of Special Administration. Volsky describes his arrival in NKAO, "1988. Gorbachev called me and said, "Here are Ligachev, Razumovsky and Chebrikov. They insist that you should go to Karabakh" I pressed for a personal meeting and asked what the reason for this exile was. And he answered, "You know, Arkady, you are too excited about some people, not everyone likes that. You refused to go to MGK when Yeltsin was removed, you refused to speak at the plenary session… I respect you, but comrades still insist." I grew hysterical and said that I would rather work at a plant but you know Mikhail Sergeyevich, he can persuade anyone. So I found myself in Karabakh."

We are convinced that Volsky lies, so easily and almost theatrically describing his appointment in NKAO. Everything was much more serious, better-thought and purposeful. He was not appointed by Gorbachev, who was nothing but a hand, but by the LODGE, and his strategy in NKAO was worked out in minute detail!

From 16 September, 1988 to February 1990 Volsky was the representative of the Supreme Council of the USSR and the CPSU CC in Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, the chairman of the Committee of Special Administration of NKAO. His first order was to open the episcopacy of Armenian Gregorian Church that immediately became the official centre of separatism in NKAO. It sent its messages about "the suffering of NKAO Armenians and the destruction of Christian monuments by the official authorities of Azerbaijan" to many Christian institutions. On the recommendation of Aganbegyan, Volsky gathered expert economists in Stepanakert where they prepared a number of economic documents completely withdrawing NKAO from the economic territory of Azerbaijan. Those documents were sent to the deputy of Nikolay Ryzhkov, Voronin, who approved them. Volsky's activities did not go unnoticed by the separatists and he was elected a people's deputy of the USSR in NKAO by 97% of votes - a very Soviet result, indeed. He was then automatically elected a member of the Supreme Council and the Committee of Armed Forces in the matters of defence and state security, where he dealt with the problems of the separatists again.

On 19 May, 1989, the NKAO issue was discussed at the meeting of the Politburo Ethnic Relations Committee.

The meeting and the resulting documents played nearly the crucial part in the Karabakh problem. The documents of the committee (advocated by A. Yakovlev and G. Shakhnazarov) were approved by Gorbachev and became the foundation of all following numerous committees and meetings on different political levels devoted to the Karabakh issue.


The documents with some reservations were the ideological guarantee of the Karabakh separatism from the point of view of Marxism-Leninism.

In June 1989 the first congress of the USSR people's deputies decided to establish the Nagorno-Karabakh Committee of the USSR Supreme Council. A month later, 20-27 July, 1989, that committee was operating in NKAO. The document it worked out in full accordance with the documents approved at the meeting of the Politburo Ethnic Relations Committee on 19 May, 1989 was unique in its content, condemning some virtual extremists from both sides. However, the document said, on the whole, the pain of the Karabakh people (naturally, Baku was to blame for that) was understandable, in connection with which a number of recommendations were given to Baku for the purpose of improving the political and social situation in the region.

Based on this document, the resolution "On the measures of stabilization of the situation in NKAO" was passed by the USSR Supreme Council on 28 November, 1989. The decision was made to establish the NKAO republican committee and resume the activity of the regional Soviet of people's deputies, abolishing the Committee of Special Administration of NKAO.

Thus, the document drawn by Gorbachev, Yakovlev and Shakhnazarov at the Politburo Ethnic Relations Committee followed all formal procedures and stuck a crushing blow on the integrity of Azerbaijan.

Smoothly, the decisions of Moscow completely withdrew NKAO from the authority of Baku.

The results did not take long to appear. In summer 1989, Armenian armed groups launched the operations on the eviction of Azerbaijanis from Karabakh, shifting from elimination of individual citizens to the attacks on settlements and communities. Special efforts were concentrated on the destruction and blocking of economic and transport infrastructures ensuring life activity of the Azerbaijani population. The attacks were carried out by mobile combat teams dispersing in Armenian settlements after operations. Automatic arms were widely used in the course of operations, beginning from autumn heavy artillery (100 mm KS-19 cannons) and missiles ("Alazan"), improvised small-calibre mortars, and explosive devices were used.

In the very beginning of the conflict, the political heavyweight Y. Primakov actively joined the process and immediately conducted a "small Armenian council" in Moscow. He remembers in this connection, "Before speaking at the meeting of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Council, in spring 1989, in Moscow, I met two actual leaders of the Karabakh movement. I am not talking of those who pretended to be such, sitting far from Stepanakert and sometimes playing instigators but never risking their lives and avoiding the flame of the fire they kindled. Robert Kocharyan and Maxim Mirzoyan arrived for a meeting with one the leaders of the CPSU CC. After conversations in the Old square, they asked Nami Mikoyan, a close friend of my late wife, to arrange a private meeting with me, the then chairman of the Supreme Council of the USSR.

There were also my friend and fellow student, an observer of "Izvestiya" Kostya Gheyvandov, N. Mikoyan and her son, then already famous musician Stas Namin. The good hostess was my daughter Nana who inherited this wonderful trait from her mother."

In warm private atmosphere, blows on Azerbaijan were prepared, no doubt, for all the mentioned participants of that little council, as the further events showed, were fervent "hawks", except perhaps the musician Stas Namin who was obsessed by the idea of demonstrating… the mummy of Lenin to the whole world for currency.

Soviet and then Russian military had a considerable part in the Karabakh events.

"In the last decade," wrote Komsomolskaya Pravda, "nearly 150 Russian generals and admirals committed misdemeanours that come under Criminal Code. But only a few of them have been convicted." Now, there are 1,380 generals and admirals in the Russian army. It seems that nearly every tenth of them allowed criminal acts. No such thing has ever happened in the entire history of armed forces.

N22 in the list is the name of Colonel General Fedor Reut, the commander of the Russian group of troops in Transcaucasia. He was accused of organizing delivery of weapons, equipment and ammunition to Armenia (Clause 286) in 1992-1996…

Compare: when there were over 3,030-3200 generals and admirals (1970-1980) in the Soviet Army, criminal proceedings were instituted only against 17 officers, 12 of them for "serious oversights in service". That thievish army helped to Karabakh separatists in every possible way. They were well aware that in this case they were playing up to Gorbachev and his team, sticking to Christian factor, acquiring relations in the Ministry of Defence where the Armenians were quite influential (Reut's case was stopped owing to the unprecedented pressure of these forces and, most importantly, to a decent material remuneration). At that time, Baku could rely only on honest and incorruptible generals. There were few of such, but there they were. General Rokhlin paid with his life for the exposure of illegal weapons supply.

Fleet Admiral V.N. Chernavin wrote in the beginning of the conflict, "This year (1990 - Author) organized militarized groups ("armies") formed in the territory of Armenia, which were armed with small arms, rocket weapon and artillery systems taken from DOSAAF. Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Soviet Army units… The government of the Armenian SSR was obliged to take measures on banning gangster formations, their full disarmament and armoury liquidation, to propagate inadmissibility of violent measures in settlement of any conflicts. However, this did not happen."

Meanwhile, the geography of provocations against Baku expanded On 14 January, 1990 Lezghins living in north-eastern regions of the republics organized meetings demanding self-determination and separation from the Azerbaijan SSR. It became clear later that Armenian trace and the trace of secret services (former KGB general Sterligov) was left here as well. The friendship between A. Sakharov and R. Gamzatov played its certain part.

In the south of the country, the well-known forces tried to raise the Talyshs against the Azerbaijani.

Instead of calling people to defend Motherland, Vezirov and his team pretended that nothing special was going on and that a turning point was about to come.

NKAO separatists began forming armed units. K. Myalo writes, "Against this background, self-defence groups that had appeared in Karabakh as far back as in autumn 1988 (when the regional staff of self-defence forces of Artsakh was formed of the commanders of all groups) began to merge into platoons and companies. In the beginning of 1991 and at the end of 1992 there were about ten of them in Karabakh, uniting over a thousand volunteers. Thus, Karabakh was the first of all so-called "self-proclaimed states" took a step towards organization of regular army, making a precedent soon to be followed by Transdniestria and Abkhazia."

Mercenaries from all over the world started gathering in NKAO.

Ogonyok writes, "The first stage of mercenary recruitment (from the beginning of the conflict in 1988 to till the USSR collapse in the end of 1991) was mainly connected with the Armenian foreign diaspora and its organizations. First reports on soldiers of fortune in Karabakh appeared in summer 1989. Mass media reported about ASALA (secret army of liberation of Armenia) with headquarters in Beirut, which had started preparing subversive groups for terrorist actions in Azerbaijan."

The USA and Europe also hurried to help Armenia and Karabakh separatists.

A powerful impetus was given to the Armenian side by the meeting of the Armenian Catholicos with the US president Reagan who promised to do away with the "evil empire" and saw the Armenians as allies in his plans. Catholicos was speaking about the "suffering of the Karabakh Armenians."

At the most strained moment of the Armenian-Azerbaijan confrontation, Bush Sr. sent his son and grandson to Armenia. He clearly and unambiguously supported the Armenians then, which inspired Gorbachev in many ways, since the attitude of the Americans was equal to law for him.

On 19 July, 1989, the Senate of the US Congress unanimously approved the resolution expressing "the US support for the expectations of the Soviet Armenian people about the peaceful and fair settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute."

On 19 November, 1989, the US Senate adopted a resolution on Nagorno-Karabakh, "…Due to the fact that 80% of the Armenian majority living in Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast are concerned about… due to the fact that the Soviet government qualified the murders of Armenians on 28-29 February, 1988 in the city of Sumgayit as disorders, due to the fact that at first, the people and government of the Soviet Union… took positive measures consisting in the establishment of the Committee of Special Administration of NKAO…, due to the fact that the Committee proved to be inefficient… to further, in the course of bilateral discussions with the Soviet Union, the fair settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that would actually reflect the people's views on the subject."

The US Senate continued to strengthen its anti-Azerbaijan position in the course of time.

It should be noted that it was hard to understand such an attitude of the US Senate towards Azerbaijan, both humanly and politically, and in any other aspect.

The following table shows the number of executions performed by law and by Lynch law from 1884 to 1889 in the USA.

Source: "Criminal Crowd", KSP+ Publishing House, Institute of Psychology of Russian Academy of Sciences, 1998, Moscow.
Executions performed by law
Executions performed by Lynch law

Today, we have the impression that in their attitudes towards Azerbaijan American senators returned to the 1880s and judge it not by international laws but by some principles that only they alone know and lynch Baku on every occasion. At the same time they do not give a damn about the doings of the Armenian side in Azerbaijan, as the US Senate has not ever passed a single resolution against Armenia yet despite the political disorder in that country.

On 7 August, 1989, at the UN Human Rights Subcommittee meeting in Geneva, the USSR received the recommendation to conduct a referendum in NKAO "with the purpose of determining the will of the majority population in the regions…"

On 17 January, 1990 the European Parliament passed a resolution appealing the European Council of Foreign Ministers and the Council of Europe to support the Armenians before the Soviet government and demanding immediate assistance for Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. On 18 January, 1990, a group of American senators sent a letter to Gorbachev calling for the reunion of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia.

The US Senate resolved to "continue to support and encourage the efforts on the restoration of Armenia, to encourage President Gorbachev and continue the dialogue with the Armenian representatives at the Congress of people's deputies" and… included the passed resolution in the draft bill on assignations for 1990 fiscal year as an amendment.

O. Platonov states that "the "fifth column" of traitors to the country was formed in the USSR, which was a part of Interregional deputy group and "Democratic Russia"."

According to Platonov, A.D. Sakharov and Y.G. Bonner became an important element of the US influence agents network in the late 1960s. Their unrestricted praises for the Western political system and biased criticism of the Soviet one by means of propaganda financed by the CIA had a significant role to play in the cold war of the West against Russia. The former physicist that had broken up with science (by the way, it has been discovered recently that the initiators of thermonuclear researches were not I.Y. Tamm and A.D. Sakharov but a young soldier, who even had no secondary education by then, Oleg Lavrentyev. In his letter to Moscow, he set forth brilliant ideas related to thermonuclear research. - Author), and his wife, a daughter of frenzied Jewish Communists, took a major place among other public figures and anti-Russian dissidents, turning into some kind of symbol of opposing historical values of Russia, the banner of the struggle for its dismemberment and humiliation.

Hundreds of people that constituted the staff backbone of the USSR destructors and of the future Yeltsin's regime passed the training of influence agents in the network of Krieble Institute offices and similar establishments. Among them were G. Popov, G. Starovoytova, M. Poltoranin, A. Murashov, S. Stankevich, Y. Gaydar, M. Bocharov, G. Yavlisnky, Y. Boldyrev, V. Lukin, A. Chubays, A. Nuykin, A. Shabad, V. Bokser, many shadow people from Yeltsin's circle, in particular, the manager of his election campaign in Yekaterinburg A. Urmanov, as well as I. Vityutin, M. Reznikov, N. Andriyevskaya, A. Nazarov, outstanding journalists and TV men.

The author is far from such radical estimates of Platonov, but one fact is striking. Platonov, an undoubtedly talented writer, hushes up this fact, for some reason, it seems. All the people he mentions and mildly accuses of commitment and active participation in the USSR collapse, were ardent advocates of Karabakh separatists and enemies of the Azerbaijani people. IN OTHER WORDS, THE CLOSE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE TWO EVENTS ("HIDDEN" CORRELATION), THE USSR COLLAPSE AND NKAO SEPARATISM, ARE NOT OF PROBABILISTIC NATURE BUT A DETERMINISTIC LAW, LIKE NEWTON'S LAW OF UNIIVERSAL GRAVITATION.

The law has a clear logic meaning: supporting NKAO separatism, the above-mentioned people certainly realized that they thereby contribute to the USSR collapse.


According to the minister of foreign affairs of Latvia, from 1985 to 1992 the West (first of all, the USA) invested 90 billion dollars in the "process of democratization in the USSR". The money was used to pay for the services of right people, to train and pay influence agents, to buy necessary equipment, instructors, literature etc.

No doubt, some of these means got into the pocket of Karabakh separatists.

American press raised to defend Karabakh separatists. For instance, "Time" wrote on 23 October, 1989 concerning the events in Nagorno-Karabakh and around it, "One side fairly demands that what belongs to it by right be returned, while the other resists piling up lies and not disdaining to use any means, including a political crime, a blockade. Strange enough, the judge still favours the boxer in the green corner with the image of half-moon." Isn't this informational terrorism?

Of course, the omnipotent CIA was wide awake, realizing well that interesting events shaking the USSR were beginning there.

"Novoye vremya" and "Or" report that recently declassified materials of the US CIA say that the fact of recognition of Karabakh as a historical part of Armenia has never been doubted by this organization. For instance, according to "Novoye vremya", Karabakh chronology prepared by the CIA in August 1990 begins with the preamble, "In 1921-1931 the new Soviet government turns Nagorno-Karabakh, a historical Armenian territory, into an autonomous region inside the Soviet republic of Azerbaijan." The 1988 CIA research mentions Karabakh as the cultural and religious centre of Armenia. It says, "Karabakh has been Armenian for millenniums. Even when some other parts of Armenia were under Persian and Turkish influence." In the very 1988 the CIA made an attempt to analyse the reasons of anti-Armenian policy of the Azerbaijan state. The conclusion was that the reason for the aggression against the Armenians was not the Karabakh issue but the internal frustration of the Azerbaijan society, as a consequence of the overstrain proceeding from the inability of the state to provide work and education for the huge young population of the country… Hence the difference between living standards of the Armenians and the Azerbaijanis, and the solution of the problem through aggression. Earlier, in 1978, the CIA report on the problems of ethnic minorities had almost a recommendation, "The population of Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast are capable to insist more forcefully on their legitimate demand that the regions should be handed over from one republic to another. Karabakh is a part of Azerbaijan, though more than 80% of its population is Armenians and the region itself is situated close to the Armenian border."

This is confirmed, though in somewhat different aspect, by the head of the USSR intelligence Shebarshin, who writes, "The omnipresent CIA strengthened its residency in Yerevan… The provocative methods used by the Western secret services to further the USSR collapse were also applied to the destabilization and then disintegration of Russia itself…

Continuing the subject of the activities of foreign secret services in Transcaucasia, let us give the following fact. Among other things, we found out that there was some Monte Avo commander in Nagorno-Karabakh, an American Armenian, officer who coordinated the actions of the troops in Martuni region. Under his command, the Karabakh Armenians seized Goradiz, Fizuli, and many other settlements. People feared him, respected and obeyed him. Monte Avo was killed and buried in Armenia like a national hero. In the course of time, other cases of direct involvement of foreign experts in the internal conflicts provoked in the USSR are made public."

This position of senators and the CIA is explained, among other things, by the fact that the USA did not and do not regard the Karabakh events as separatism and terrorism. Much is cleared up by the position of Fiona Hill, a specialist from Brookings Institute, famous expert on Eastern Europe, the former USSR countries and international relations.

Question: Our reader from Azerbaijan sent the following questions. "Why Armenian terrorist organizations such as ASALA and others are not included in the list of terrorist organizations? How much does it fit the US government interests to support separatism in Nagorno-Karabakh of the Azerbaijan Republic? Isn't it time that major world powers stopped their double standard policy?"

Hill: That is a very difficult question, as there is even no accurate definition of terrorism today. The US actually had no serious discussion of the matter. Of course, we have some notion of terrorism, in particular owing to the activities of Al-Qaeda. However, a totally different approach is requited to determine the activities of organizations operating not in the whole world but in some certain place, in Nagorno-Karabakh, Chechnya, Basque Provinces, Northern Ireland. For these organizations are related to certain ethnic groups and have certain political purposes.

Hill: Methods of terror were used not only for "ethnic purposes", if one can say so. Russia had Lenin. We could say that he was a terrorist. Of course, he himself did not commit terrorist acts but his own brother was executed for the organization of the tsar's murder, quite a typical terrorist act. And many people connected with Lenin in the Bolshevist Party also used terrorist methods. Lenin was not alone, since many political movements in Russia at the end of the 19th century professed terror. So we can say that the roots of terrorism lay in the pre-revolution Russia. For the serious ideology of terrorism, exactly ideology, since terrorist acts had been carried out before in other countries as well, was born in Russia. Remember Tkachev, Nachayev, Savinkov…

That is, modern terrorism is by no means a new phenomenon, it is just using old methods to achieve some political goal."

The US diplomats never say that, loyal to the following principle "A diplomat has a tongue to conceal his thoughts", but they actually do that, proceeding from the above-mentioned principles.

The above-mentioned facts that make up merely 1-2% of the totality of similar well-known facts (and so many unknown ones!) demonstrate that after Gorbachev came to power Azerbaijan was exposed to many-dimensional aggression of different, sometimes rival forces within a single state. Such an example can hardly be found in modern history.

Numerous facts of constitutional abuses, months-long strikes in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, eviction of Azerbaijanis from their long-occupied places, disarmament of Soviet military units and seizure of their weapons, formation of armed groups, unpunished murders and many other things… but the head of the state, Gorbachev, who calls NKAO "Artsakh", has no solution! But the chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers N. Ryzhkov had a "solution". Under his guidance, a number of resolutions were passed that withdrew NKAO from the economic territory of Azerbaijan.

As a rule, all central bodies of the USSR always accused Baku of something and then suggested solving the Karabakh problem in the frames of "Leninist friendship of peoples". If we open any document on the Karabakh problem issued those years by highest authorities of the USSR, we will see that the preamble invariably mentions certain shortcomings in Nagorno-Karabakh that were rather inherent in the USSR on the whole, and all this is followed by general meaningless phrases. The first part of these resolutions was the chief argument of the forces that supported separatists both in the USSR and abroad.

None of the resolutions has any single reproach against Armenia as the initiator of these bloody events. At best, Armenia and Azerbaijan were treated equally!

New-sprung democrats kept up with the official authorities. Their hatred for the USSR seemed to shift to Azerbaijan, as if Baku had been the cradle of revolution and not Petersburg.

Up to a million people gather in the Theater Square in Yerevan, demanding from their leaders the opportunity to arm and begin a war against Azerbaijan, while Moscow calls them "a handful of extremists". Under the guidance of the state bodies, all Azerbaijanis are driven away from Armenia, while Moscow says, "they will be back, that was caused by certain forces standing in the way of perestroika."

Ominous events occur in Sumgayit, while Moscow is talking about "declassed elements". President of Armenia openly declares that he begins to form the army of Armenia, while Moscow speaks about some "mafia groups in Azerbaijan and Armenia". Considerable number of well-trained militants from all around the world, including Russia, arrive in Armenia, while Moscow mentions allegedly "isolated cases of penetration of suspicious persons in the territory of Armenia". Weapons are taken by force from whole military units in Armenia, while Moscow calls that "extremist attacks". The list can be continued.

One of the first persons to sense the duplicity of the position of the Centre in the events was Z. Alizade. He writes, "In general, the analysis of the CPSU CC policy in the Karabakh issue allowed to draw one of the two following conclusions. 1) There was no planned policy at all, the spontaneity of the events running before the reflections of the strategists from the CPSU. Decision-making mechanism moved obviously more slowly than the events. 2) The CPSU CC was breaking down the Soviet Union intentionally. Paradoxical as the latter theory may seem, a series of decisions taken by the Centre, which were allegedly aimed at the stabilization of the situation in the autonomous oblast and resulted in something totally opposite, does not rule it out at all."

All Azerbaijanis are evicted from Armenia and NKAO, blood is shed, while Karabakh separatism receives considerable support from the West. Finally, when Gorbachev came to power they realized that their demands and their opinion would be considered!

Neither Moscow nor Washington would not take into account the chief aim of Karabakh separatists and the forces behind them, which they undoubtedly were aware of, the destruction of the USSR, the subsequent chaos and the occupation of Azerbaijan territories in this uneasy situation.

Kseniya Myalo describes the ideology of Karabakh separatists proceeding from the general Armenian ideology. It is so closely entwined with the general system that any shortening can distort its meaning. So, we give it unabridged.

"…In the 12 years that have passed since that time, the generation of then children grew up. For this generation, both Sumgayit and all that happened afterwards are events of the remote past, moreover, the events that occurred in the different country, not theirs. It is therefore difficult for them to sense the connection between those events and the "iron ring around Russia's neck", and it is even more impossible to imagine what an acute trauma for the social, still imperial, consciousness was the fact that the first impetus for the destruction of the power had been given by Armenia. For Armenia was traditionally regarded as Russian-centric and, on the whole, that was in accordance with the main historical trend, though did not reflect the entire complexity of the issue.

The other side of the issue was thoroughly analyzed by the young Russian philosopher (and Slavophil of German orgin) Vladimir Ern. Almost simultaneously with Sergey Sazonov, the minister of foreign affairs of the Russian Empire, who submitted his report on the Armenian issue to the Council of Ministers in 1916, which proceeded from the concept of a cloudless Russian-Armenian alliance, he reflected a different aspect of the problem in his essay "Autonomous Armenia" (1915), which has been unfortunately forgotten and not considered with due attention.

Considering the project nurtured by some part of Armenian intellectuals, which provided not annexing Turkish Armenia to the Russian Empire (in case if the latter won the war) but granting it special autonomous status, Ern drew the following conclusion. That quite crafty plan expressed the hidden desire of some part of Armenian intellectuals to increase independence from Russia, however without losing the opportunity to use its power for defence, if necessary. They did not think how destructive for the saving Russian power such games could be, and were guided not by the interests of the victims of a brutal genocide at all.

"Certainly, those poor people need no "autonomy"," Ern wrote. "They would be happy if they were not robbed, raped, burnt and killed any more in the literal, physical sense of the world (as we know, Armenians and Azerbaijans enjoyed equal rights in both in Azerbaijan and NKAO, which cannot be said of the Azerbaijanis in Armenia. - Author). "Autonomy" is for those who are not content with the relatively wide rights that the Russian Armenians enjoy. Armenians in Russia have the absolute freedom of conscience, full church autonomy, secondary education in mother tongue and full political equality with the native Russian population. The advocates of "autonomy" are not satisfied even with that. If so, they want to have more rights than the Russian population itself enjoy in the Russian state."

IT WAS THE TREND (highlighted by the author) was declared in the Karabakh movement, whereas the actual (which one? - Author) but particular problem in the row of many ones, which the huge multinational state was facing, became the occasion and excuse for stirring up anti-imperial and anti-Russian sentiments. The Karabakh movement gave the impetus to the organization of national People's fronts that (at the time when they still considered some or another variant of preserving the USSR) put forward the characteristic demand for more rights for the title nation than those used by the rest and first of all by the Russians who immediately became the embodiment of the "imperial evil". Nothing could have had more destructive power. As Ern wrote, "STRIVING AFTER THE ADVANTAGE NOT POSSESSED BY THE WHOLE POPULATION OF THE EMPIRE IS ANTISTATE AND SEPARATIST IN ITS CORE… GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF NEW STATE FORMS ARE TO BE THE AFFAIR OF THE WHOLE RUSSIA, PASSING THROUGH THE NATIVE POPULATION OF RUSSIA TO THE PERIPHERY, AND NOT VICE VERSA (highlighted by the author)."

There is nothing to add. The concept of the Russian philosopher and Slavophil of German orgin Vladimir Ern and the minister of foreign affairs of the Russian Empire Sergey Sazonov concerning the Armenian claims in those years remains as relevant as more than a hundred years ago.

Since no one robbed or killed the Armenians in NKAO, new arguments were invented in modern history, such as social, demographic, cultural etc. problems.


Different forces got immediately involved in Karabakh separatism, both in the USSR and abroad. Those forces had different political interests but Baku had no common interest with any of them.