Sumgayit events were a powerful informational weapon in the hands of Armenian separa-tists directed against Baku. They had nearly crucial influence on the international public opinion, as a result of which Baku was left all along in the beginning of the well-known events. And to-day, after more than ten years, this issue is not completely clear, though many things started to clarify gradually owing to the principle of interests and the new facts that leaked to the press.
The model of Sumgayit events was brilliantly built in public right before the Sumgayit events by C. Pashayan. On 12 December, 1985, the Armenian congressman C. Pashayan made the following statement in the meeting room of the US Congress, "…AND TODAY, I AM STANDING HERE CONDEMNING ANY KIND OF TERRORISM, ESPECIALLY ARME-NIAN TERRORISM. AT THE SAME TIME, I MUST SAY THAT AS LONG AS ITS REA-SON IS UNFAIRLY DENIED, THE KGB AND THE COMMUNIST PARTY, WHICH ARE EVIDENTLY COMMITTING THIS TERRORISM, WILL HAVE FUEL FOR THIS FIRE" (highlighted by the author).
All accents are so clear in this statement that there is no need for any comments. Every-thing and everyone is mentioned, the CPSU, the USSR KGB, and Armenian terrorists! It is not accidental that the famous writer Bunich rates the events in Sumgayit and Baku among the main undisclosed secret historical events that occurred at different times in the USSR. Here they are.
1. Who brought Bolsheviks to power and why?
2. What was the fate of the tsar family?
3. What happened to Lenin in January 1924?
4. By whose order was Kirov murdered?
5. How did the catastrophe of 22 June, 1941 happen?
6. What happened to Stalin himself in February 1953?
7. What happened to Lavrenty Beria a year later?
8. How many of the "spies" annihilated by SMERSH were innocent victims?
9. Who blew up "Novorossiysk" battleship?
10. Who published Solzhenitsyn abroad and flooded the USSR with his books?
11. Who provoked the slaughter in Vilnius? In Sumgayit? In Baku? In Tbilisi?
12. Who organized the channels for the party funds to flow abroad>
13. Who initiated and unleashed the Chechen war?
14. Who finances "economical" election campaigns of today's Zyuganovs?
Even Victor Nikolaev, who, judging by his publications, hates the Azerbaijanis vehemently just like Lebed, expresses his puzzlement concerning Sumgayit events through the words of his character. He writes in his book "Alive in Help", "In the evening, the group of officers that had arrived from Shamkhor got their berths in officers dormitory. Overinstructed by the local command, they gathered in the room of the blokes from the Interior Ministry for the deplorable sizing up. The commander, Captain Slavka Krivoshapka was so legendary personality that heroic stories about him were spread in the entire Transcaucasia. In two years he was contused twice in Sumgayit. Slavka became convinced there that hatred is brought up in man fastest of all and forgiveness has the longest way to go. He was thrown into that most Russian city in the south of the country where the slaughter could not be explained with any imagination of the government. He could not understand how such a disaster could happen in the city with the secret centre of the Ministry of Defence, a missile unit, a large steel works dubbed "mailbox", a large chemical complex, a frontier unit, strongest family relations among the local population, not a smallest attempt being made to prevent or stop it."
Being a military man, Captain Slavka Krivoshapka reasons quite logically but common sense is not to be sought in Sumgayit events, since a different logic was used there.
The terrible events in Sumgayit were an amazing paradox, the result of merging of different dark and often rival forces. The resultant became a horrible brand craftily stamped upon the Azerbaijan people by the Armenian propaganda.
Dmitry Furman and Ali Abasov write in their book "Azerbaijan Revolution", "Sumgayit is the first of the dreadful events in the modern Azerbaijan history, which is almost impossible to clarify, for in a society run by unofficial mafia relations and corruption, policy is actually to a great extent carried out by the shadow powers, plots and provocations and is even more interpreted through them. If we add Moscow striving to hush up Sumgayit events to "appease" the society, the Armenians striving to blow them up, presenting them as the continuation of the 1915 genocide, the Azerbaijanis striving to shift all the blame on the Armenian provocation, blowing up the mysterious role of one of the most active participants of the disorders, a Sumgayit criminal worker E. Grigoryan, we will have to admit that the truthful picture of Sumgayit events is unlikely to be ever recollected. But it is clear that the combustible mass of newcomers from villages, bearers of the traditional mentality that acquires a specific lumpen criminal shade in urban conditions, who formed lower classes of the urban society, exploded in Sumgayit (by itself or someone threw a match). The mass was increased in Azerbaijan by the dozens of thousands of peasant refugees from Armenia (unlike the urban and intellectual Armenian population in Azerbaijan, Azerbaijanis of Armenia were mainly peasants, since Azerbaijan intellectuals who appeared there used to move to Azerbaijan), who had been deprived of all their belongings and suddenly found themselves in big towns, not knowing what to do, disoriented and resentful. (Later, Nagorno-Karabakh refugees joined them.)"
They are certainly right, Sumgayit events are among the most mysterious ones in the USSR history. However, as time passes, much of them, like in most of such events, begins to clear up. The world-famous writer Eduard Topol shares his opinion concerning Sumgayit events with Tenghiz Gudava, Radio Liberty.
"It was a provocation. I am deeply convinced in this. I began my journalist career in Sumgayit, Sumgayit was built by international Soviet workers. People with permanent good job do not go anywhere, you know, they do not discover America, just like none of European physicians or scientists went to America as poor people did. Poor people went there and built a wonderful country, the same was with Sumgayit. Different people from all around the country came there under the slogan of "High-powered Construction". I worked in that paper, writing of an Armenian today and of an Azerbaijani tomorrow. We had five columnists in the editorial office, two and a half of us were Jews, one Armenian woman, one Azerbaijani, and we were of the same age and completely equal in everything. And when I heard that then everything had started with Sumgayit, with disorders, slaughter, it was terrible, a nightmare, all my friends were in that hell. When I was 20 and worked in Sumgayit, I was keen on mountain tourism, alpinism. I remember once - it was either 50th anniversary of the Soviet power or some other holiday - we went on foot, we went across Nagorno-Karabakh, I myself, with my feet, went across the entire Nagorno-Karabakh. We came out of the forest, descend to a village, Martuni, Madrasa, if you know these names. Villagers saw a file of people coming, they could not make out our faces or else, but when we approached to any of them, no matter if it was Azerbaijani or Armenian village, we were met by women with pitchers of wine and bread in their hands and always welcome. They would say wonderful words to us in Armenian, in Azerbaijani… There was, I say this because I went there and drank wine both in the Armenian and the neighbouring Azerbaijan village, there was no enmity…"
A correspondent mentioned to the famous writer Leonid Zorin, "In your autobiography "Proscenium" you wrote about the happiness of life in Baku." "Baku was an amazing city. A huge, with one and half a million population and extremely homelike at the same time. A home city, you were a part of its family everywhere. Special magic… it is the South, you see. A kind of Soviet Gascony. Life was much colder "far in the north, in Paris". But there, in Baku, on one hand, you have siesta and time passes not so rapidly, on the other hand, incandescent passions. All those humpbacked streets flying to the boulevard, to the sea, to the sunny masout wave... But the main wealth here is people. The moron disease, nationalism, was unknown to this city. In my team boys of six nationalities played shoulder to shoulder. Not without reason was it always said with a challenge in Baku, "Nationality: Bakuvian". Then it all was gone…
Yes, everything is not the same. There was Sumgayit, there was Karabkh. The virus walking over the planet reached this home."
It is well known from where different viruses were and are delivered in Azerbaijan!
K. Myalo writes of tragic events, including Sumgayit, "The so-called "ethnic conflicts" unfolded in the USSR in quite a stable orderly society, in the conditions of quite decent incomes, and also, which is important, quite a high level of education of the overwhelming majority of the population. To shift from the heavy-weight statistics that distinguished the infamous stagnation period to the sharp dynamics, drastic means should have been applied and they were found.
First of all, it was general and conscious involvement of criminals in the disorders, thugs whose task was to shed the first blood in such ways that were to make people freeze with horror. It was the case in Sumgayit, Ferghana, Osh and later, during the Georgian-Abkhazian war, Shevardnadze actually legalized using of criminals as the impact force of the state.
Drugs were widely used to form agitated crowds and to involve youth, almost teenagers in them (which in the Soviet time secured that militia will not use firearms against thugs)…
Considerable part of financing had shadow sources.
They paid for the work of ideologists and those who provided informational cover, raising a clamour for militia about every victim (though you could count them on the fingers of one hand). While the thugs were doing their work, nationalistic intellectuals diligently toiled in their sphere, forging new historical myths about someone's birth rights and slogans to attract wide masses that had nothing to do with the disorders but that on the contrary were driven by the most noble feelings, patriotism, humility for the distortion of the national history and indignation at the violence caused their congeners."
It is a clear and very meaningful model, but it has one big fault. It is not illustrated with facts, without which it remains uncertain.
If we gather facts concerning the strategic component of this model and place numerical coefficients before each factor (which is easy given modern methods of formalization of some or other process), much will be clear, including certain moments of Sumgayit events.
"Sumgayit events are a tragedy of the mankind in the modern history. It is another genocide of the Armenian people," deputy Ighityan said at the congress of people's deputies.
Such statements are a part of the strategy of Armenian ideologists. After every certain period of time Armenia needs a new "genocide". The events in Turkey in 1915 were presented as "genocide" by Armenian ideologists. To refresh this problem in modern history and raise the Karabakh issue, Sugayit events were used.
Finally, here is the comment of the first president of Azerbaijan A. Mutalibov in "Molodezh Azerbaijana" concerning Sumgayit events, "Peace was not included in the plans of the organizers of the bloody performance under a number of conventional titles one of which is "struggle for self-determination of Artsakh Armenians". They needed… a large-scale massacre. An the evil nationalistic plan worked soon. Panic was artificially raised among Azerbaijanis in Kafan and other regions, causing them leave Armenia under the threat of death. It was in May 1988. In November, the same year, not a single Azerbaijani was left there. The republic was ablaze those days. First fires of confrontation flared up… We managed to suppress conflicts in Ganja, Baku. But we failed to stop Sumgayit events. What had to happen happened."
Such a vague explanation, unlike the clear Armenian interpretation.
The author is sure that had Sumgayit events failed for some reasons, it would have inevitably happened in some other place in Azerbaijan, with inevitable victims among the Armenian population. It is one of the most important elements of Armenian "genocides".
In 1985-1990 the chairman of the CPA CC Party Committee R. Akhundov remembers his conversation with Bobkov in Stepanakert, "In the course of a common sluggish conversation about the events in Stepanakert Bobkov suddenly asked me, "What is your projection of the further actions of the Armenians?" I thought and answered, "I think they will undertake some provocation in one of Azerbaijan towns." "Which one?" continued Bobkov. I mentioned one of Azerbaijan towns, Sumgayit did not occur to me as I had always associated it with Komsomol past. Bobkov became thoughtful and did not comment on this. He never returned to the subject."
Many documents and facts that became known after more than 15 years demonstrate that Sumgayit events (certain politicians from Gorbachev's circle agree) were arranged by the Centre together with Armenian separatists and not without assistance of the KGB. The Armenians have always had strong positions in this organization, we should say.
For instance, according to the memoirs of former Soviet officials, one of the chief participants of anti-Khruschev conspiracy, the head of the USSR KGB, was the first to familiarize the first secretary of the Armenian Communist Party CC Zarobyan with the plan of the conspiracy. And according to the Chairman of the Presidium of the Azerbaijan SSR Supreme Council M. Iskenderov, when the Azerbaijan delegation arrived in Moscow, it did not know what issue would be discussed at the plenary session of the CPSU CC. The KGB knew well whom to rely on in dirty work
In the course of time, many obscure aspects of Sumgayit events begin to clarify gradually.
K. Myalo writes, "Then, in Baku and Sumgayit, for the first time in my life and rather close I got familiarized both the technique of roundups (this is exactly the way Russians will later be driven away from Chechnya, with the complete silence of the "international community") and organization of pogroms I was yet to see again in Ferghana Valley. As early as then, basing on that dreadful experience, hourly chronicle of the events, I drew the following conclusion, which has not been refuted so far, in my opinion. MASS POGROM WITH BIG BLOOD AND CHILLING VIOLENCE SCENES (THAT IS, WHAT CAN BE QUALIFIED EXACTLY AS POGROM AND NOT A FIGHT OF SEVERAL PEOPLE) IS NEVER SPONTANEOUS BUT ORGANIZED. QUITE POWERFUL POLITICAL FORCES ALWAYS STAND BEHIND IT, USING IT AS AN EFFICIENT MEANS OF ACTIVATION OF A SCPEIAL WEAPON, THE WEAPON OF ETHNIC CONFLICTS. ON SUCH A SCALE AND IN SUCH A VAST AREA AS THE COLLAPSING (OR, MORE ACCURATELY, PURPOSEFULLY DESTROYED) SOVIET UNION, IT HAS NOT BEEN USED ANYWHERE ELSE EXCEPT IN YUGOSLAVIA NEARLY AT THE SAME TIME (highlighted by the author)."
Many anti-Muslim articles were written by A. Krukilin, but an interesting fact is that there is one remarkable phrase in another libellous article written by him in "Literaturnaya gazeta" on 14 March, "The CC… was informed twenty times about the disorders being organized!... The force that provoked the disorders is very serious. It should be found in the top circles. Moreover, found, exposed and punished, regardless of ranks and titles."
That force operated actually in the entire area of the USSR, in a different way in different regions, in accordance with the situation in each of them. Sumgayit was a perfect training ground for these forces, in many senses.
A member of Politburo, President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov told Gorbachev roundly, "Mikhail Sergeyevich, it is time we stopped pretending as if everything that is going on in the party and the county now was spontaneous. It is evident that there are special centres and people arranging all these dangerous processes. We must speak of them openly, saying their names."
As time passed chief personalities of that time began to speak on many events, including those in Sumgayit.
The first sensational statement was made by the ideologist of perestroika A. Yakovlev concerning Sumgayit events. In 1992, in "Moscow News" A. Yakovlev said that THE EVENTS IN TRANSDNIESTRIA HAD BEEN INITIATED BY THE KGB (highlighted by the author).
He said the same in March 1993 on Azerbaijan TV, "Echo of Sumgayit", "Sumgayit events were organized by the USSR military industrial complex and the KGB."
He repeated that word-by-word ten years later.
"Despite some decrease in the influence of secret services in the times of Khruschev, they naturally were not idle. The regime (about in the second half of Khruschev's rule) could not find again another way out but to strengthen security agencies. Any expression of protest was suppressed in most ruthless way. Punishing bodies heartened up, making up new opportunities for themselves. In some cases they provoked unrest and conflict situations themselves to prove their own utility. That was the case in the times of Khruschev in Novocherkassk. THAT WAS THE CASE IN SUMGAYIT (highlighted by the author), Vilnius, Riga in the period of Perestroika."
Another striking fact. His recently published memoirs "Whirlpool of Memory" devoted to the period of perestroika contain not a single word about the events in Nagorno-Karabakgh and around it. Not a single word! As if there had been no such events and he had not been one of its key figures. We are deeply convinced that there are some reasons for it. Yakovlev realized in what a dirty game he had been used and actually disassociated himself from his previous views and actions, trying to whitewash himself.
These statements A. Yakovlev made concerning Sumgayit events had nothing to do with the assistance to Baku. He realized well that certain forces in the KGB, which were unable to stomach him, hit him with his actions as the ideologist of perestroika.
That sensational statement of the chief ideologist of perestroika, one of the main patrons of Nagorno-Karabakh separatists, who used Sumgayit events many times in those years to justify the Armenian point, dots all i's in Sumgayit events. As a matter of fact, it was clear even then but this though belated confession is quite remarkable.
"Voice of Armenia" wrote on 18 May, 1993, "…It is useful for us to remember that Alexander Yakovlev and his circle had a significant part to play in the stimulation of the Karabakh process (collection of signatures in Karabakh etc.). The same people changed their position sharply after Sumgayit, Kirovabad and Baku and opposed the legitimate demand of the Armenians confirmed by the results of the Karabakh referendum. Now, like Margaret Thatcher, they advocate the integrity of Azerbaijan."
The famous financier George Soros said in "Znamya", June 1989, that the provocations against Armenians in Azerbaijan, in particular in Sumgayit, had been arranged by mafia.
Y. Ligachev was of the same opinion. He said in an interview to Azerbaijan TV, "Sumgayit events were organized by mafia groups."
In that case, the following question arises. Was there mafia in the USSR that was capable of arranging something like that and not related to the CPSU or the KGB? The business of "red mafia" and their connection with the CPSU or the KGB became public after the downfall of the CPSU.
"Mafia is armed bourgeoisie," I heard that from one Columbian political emigrant in Kuba; the similar scenario was about to be staged in the Caucasus, with the only difference that the Soviet specificity inevitably supposed an especially large-scale involvement of secret services."
There is another interesting fact concerning Sumgayit events. We all remember well that A. Sakharov in all his speeches demanded careful investigation of Sumgayit events. Academician Sakharov demanded that the USSR General Prosecutor Sukharev in public give explanation as to how Galkin who headed Sumgayit events inquiry committee of the USSR Public Prosecutor's Office "had buried the investigation of pogroms in Sumgayit."
"People will not be appeased with any half-measures, any talks of friendship between peoples. If someone could doubt that before Sumgayit, then after this tragedy no one has any moral opportunity to insist on preservation of the territorial belonging of NKAO to Azerbaijan," A. Sakharov exclaimed.
But then he suddenly fell silent and stopped demanding. He must have understood that a thorough investigation of the tragedy would not be in favour of his pets.
He was well aware of the KGB methods and as he received the information he began to realize the point of what was going on.
"February 1988. Mass disorders in Sumgayit (Azerbaijan) due to ethnic reasons, numerous victims. A special unit of the USSR KGB ("Vympel") was dispatched to the site," veterans of "Vympel" remember.
It was for some reasons that Vladimir Galkin who had headed Sumgayit events inquiry committee of the USSR Public Prosecutor's Office became General of counterintelligence afterwards, so it is obscure what forces he had represented under the cover of the Public Prosecutor's Office.
"Agentura.ru" tells of one incident with the participation of Vladimir Galkin.
"A former officer of foreign intelligence Galkin arrested in the USA.
A former officer of the USSR foreign intelligence Vladimir Galkin was arrested by the FBI agents in New York on 29 October. He had worked in T department (scientific and technological intelligence). Let us remind that Vladimir Galkin arrived in the USA among the delegation of Russian militia to purchase police equipment. By that time, he had been retired for five years and was the general director of "Knowledge Express" firm. Submitting documents for visa, Mr. Galkin did not hide his association with the foreign intelligence up to 1992. He had never been to America before. He was accused of the attempt of obtaining information on the American "strategic defence initiative" at the scientific symposium in Cyprus in 1991. According to the case documents, Mr. Galkin offered 30,000 dollars to the "Data General Corporation" employee for three reports on star wars.
According to the documents submitted to the court by the public prosecutor, Galkin was charged with the collection of information on strategic defence initiative of the USA. With this purpose he allegedly tried to enter a deal in the territory of a third country with some Indian citizen Aluru Prasad who in his turn showed interest in the star wars programme. Prasad was arrested and appeared in court. But the trial was suspended in the summer 1995 due to procedure complications.
On 15 December, Vladimir Galkin was released. Moscow asserted that the FBI had drawn Klinton's administration into a blatant provocation and only Chernomyrdin's interference allowed the Americans to "save their face". However, the USSR Department of Justice said that the decision to withdraw accusations against Galkin had been made by the government proceeding from national interests.
Meanwhile, since the moment of Galkin's arrest, Foreign Intelligence Service has been threatening with retaliation and the Federal Security Service director Nikolay Kovalev, as he himself told yesterday, even ordered drawing the list of future prisoners and demonstrated the paper to the official representatives of the FBI and the CIA in Moscow. Moreover, Foreign Intelligence Service accused the American secret services of ungentlemanly behaviour, saying that the trap set for Galkin contradicted professional spy ethics. Ministry of Foreign Affairs demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the prisoner. Finally, Moscow said that Galkin's case would impair the bilateral relations if court did not acquit him. Vladimir Galkin himself told journalists immediately after his release that the FBI agents had tried to incline him to betrayal but received a resolute refusal.
By the way, two days after Galkin's release, Harold Nickolson was arrested in the international airport of Washington."
Colleague veterans immediately rose to support the intelligence officer ("the are no former intelligence agents").
KGB VETERANS WARN THEIR WESTERN COUNTERPARTS THAT THEY CAN BECOME HOSTAGES IN THE COLD WAR BETWEEN INTELLIGENCE SERVICES
MOSCOW (IMA Press)
On 20 December, the president of the Russian KGB Veterans Club Valery Velichko circulated an appeal on the behalf of the members of this organization to former intelligence officers of NATO countries, many of whom have their business in the CIS republics. They can be the first to suffer moral and material damage, becoming hostages in the cold war of intelligence services. Its beginning, according to the authors of the appeal, is indicated by the recent arrest of a former KGB officer Vladimir Galkin in the USA. Though the appointment of Anthony Lake, a professional and not a politician, to the post of the CIA director inspires optimism, veterans of the invisible front should use their influence all together for such a situation not to happen again.
As we can see, Sumgayit events were investigated by a talented and versatile personality and Vladimir Galkin could have easily dot all i's had he wanted to. Had he wanted to!
How can we compare Sumgayit events with the attempt of obtaining information on star wars from the only superpower in the world?!
There was no need for such an important person as Galkin to expose Akhmedov the lunger and shoot him. A sledge-hammer to crack nuts!
Andrey Cherchenko, a correspondent of "Pravda" wrote ambiguous articles on Sumgayit events. It was hard to make out from them who was to blame the most for all that had happened. Building his quite logical models of the events, at the same time he mentioned some mysterious forces to make his model seem complete, like the scientists who, unable to fully explain some or other phenomena in their research and leaving that for the future, would introduce a conventional "demon" into the process at a certain stage of it, after which the entire process cleared up. When Chernenko inserted his own "demon" in his reasoning, everything took its right place; the essence of the "demon" was not explained, though. At the same time, we should point out, unlike the Armenian side, he did not see the local authorities as the organizers of these events.
In connection with Sumgayit events, the further fate of Chernenko is of a considerable interest. "How have you come to secret services?" asks him Valery Beresnev. "I was called to the Central Committee where I received the appropriate proposal. I accepted it."
He rose to Major General of state security and then, by invitation of the governor Valentina Matviyenko, became vice-governor of Petersburg and the most mysterious person in Smolny.
As we can see, two witnesses of Sumgayit events had similar fates!
Stepashin Sergey Vadimovich made a breathtaking career in the time of Yeltsin and later of Putin, in 1988-1990 took part in the operations of the Ministry of Internal Affairs troops in "flash points" of the USSR, Baku, Ferghana, Sumgayit, Nagorno-Karabakh, Sukhumi. You will find not a single word concerning his actions in Sumgayit in Baku in the well-known days in any of his numerous interviews.
Victor Nikolaevich Nikolaev. A member of the Russian Union of Writers. Born in 1958 in Kazakhstan. Did his military service in the Air Forces of Moscow military district. Graduated from high military school in Kurgan, special intelligence, and Military Political Academy in Moscow. Major in reserve, holder of the Red Star. In 1987-1989 fought in Afghanistan. Performed contingency tasks in Sumgayit, Stepanakert, Karabakh, and Tbilisi. In a conversation with Valentina Maystrenko he speaks of many things but not a word about his "contingency tasks in Sumgayit, Stepanakert, Karabakh, and Tbilisi".
Special units of Red Banner Caspian Fleet also took part in Sumgayit events. Captain 1st rank Y.Y. writes, "I stayed three weeks in Sumgayit. German Alekseyevich (the future deputy director, the head of the FSB Constitution Protection and Antiterrorism Department Vice Admiral Ugryumov German Alekseyevich) came there, though we permanently kept him informed of the events through the communication line. He wanted to see everything with his own eyes to take an accurate decision." His decisions and proposals remain a secret.
The part of T. Gdlyan in Karabakh and Sumgayit events is unknown yet. We knew of his close relations with "Krunk" leaders and "Karabakh" society. And the commonly known fact is that those years Gdlyan had considerable political influence (a people's deputy of the USSR and the Armenian SSR) and considerable capital (according to the Moscow lawyer I. Reznik, during his "exploits" in Uzbekistan he used to confiscate valuables even from distant relatives of suspects).
In connection with the events in Sumgayit, Gdlyan raised all Zelenograd, the Soviet Silicon Valley, and became a people's deputy of the USSR and the Armenian SSR on the wave of anticorruption struggle, support for Karabakh separatists and condemnation of Sumgayit events.
His methods were imitated by Stepan Mikoyan, the son of A. Mikoyan, who tried to make his way to a deputy mandate. S. Mikoyan unfolded heavy activity in the Soviet mass media condemning Sumgayit events and demonstrating his wild fantasy in that. Then he hurried to Yerevan for a deputy mandate but Yerevan preferred Starovoytova, Gdlyan and Ivanov, since they were reputed to be tough democrats then, though turned out to be bribers later.
Any cat is out of the bag somehow. According to numerous sources, Gdlyan was placed on the political stage by the head of the USSR KGB Fedorchuk, which explains many things.
Some day we will find out what circles in the KGB he was related to (there were different groups there, as far as we know), what tasks he performed. And that will clarify much, including Sumgayit events.
As became known later, the KGB also had agents among democrats. The general public today is familiar with the materials demonstrating the relations of the leaders of national independence struggle - Prunsken, Landsbergis, Chepaytis in Lithuania, Druk in Moldova, the future president of Estonia Lennart Meri and many others to the state security services that fostered them for their numerous purposes. There were such fighters for independence in Azerbaijan as well, which has been repeatedly reported in the local press and concrete names have been given.
The participation of such local "democrats" is Sumgayit events is not ruled out.
When Gorbachev was being appointed General Secretary at the Politburo meeting, the then head of the KGB Chebrikov said a mysterious phrase, "intelligence entrusted me with advising the candidacy of Comrade Gorbachev M.S. for the post of General Secretary of the CPSU CC. You must understand that the voice of intelligence, the voice of our activists is the voice of the people as well." No one has given unambiguous interpretation of Chebrikov's words so far.
As an example of the systematic approach to information processing a story is often quoted about a journalist of the early 20th century who lost all his money playing cards and, to pay back his debt, decided to sell to the foreign intelligence service the plan of military units disposition, names and posts of the command. Of course, the counterintelligence arrested the amateur spy but when the information he possessed was shown to the representative of General Staff the latter were shocked for the information was precise and classified. In the progress of the inquiry the journalist pleaded guilty and proving his repentance shared his method of learning "state secrets". He turned out to have read local newspapers in his trips to regions, being especially interested in society columns, "In the district town N the commander of the 17th hussar regiment quartered here Colonel V., Chief of the regimental staff Colonel M. attended the wedding ceremony of Lieutenant K. and so on and so forth".
What if we apply this universal method based on "hidden correlation" principles to Sumgayit events and trace who else besides Galkin, Chernenko, Stepashin, Nikolaev and many other USSR secret service agents received high appointments so quickly and why?
A question arises. What services did participants of Sumgayit events obtain so quick promotion for? They did not man any breaches in Sumgayit (besides, there was no such thing there), did not stabilize the situation in the region, or revealed the real picture of the events. What services then?
They could not obtain so quick promotion for exposing the lunger Akhmedov who had killed one man and for killing him, "by law" though (on 18 November, 1989 Akhmedov was sentenced to death as the result of his trial in Moscow and immediately executed by shooting), could they?
We are sure that the results would be very interesting!
The response of the KGB did not take long to appear, as it was expected.
Chernenko said to the journalist Valery Beresnev, "I had to see all flash points in the USSR as "Pravda" correspondent, from tragedy of 1986 in Alma Ata and to Sumgayit, Tbilisi, Baku… I hate to seem obscurantist but it is obvious today that the political leadership of that time encouraged (by action or inaction) involvement of ultranationalists in the open social processes. That was a fatal mistake that led to numerous tragedies and death of hundreds of thousands people." So, Chernenko repeated what he had said over ten years earlier.
By saying that, the KGB agent Chernenko makes a transparent allusion to A. Yakovlev, the ideologist of perestroika, and his team. He is not alone in this; Yakovlev was accused of such actions by many high-ranking KGB officers and not by hints but directly.
The former head of the KGB V. Kryuchkov recalls Yakovlev, "in the Caucasus, he "sympathized" with Armenia, but in reality provoked it to oppose Azerbaijan, straining the situation with the Karabakh problem. In general, he always spoke of Azerbaijan with evident aversion"…
This is confirmed by other sources. According to former high-ranking officials from the Central Committee of the Azerbaijan SSR Communist Party, the leaders of the CPSU CC did not support NKAO separatists and the counterparts from Baku received the name of the chief enemy of Azerbaijan in the CPSU CC, Alexander Yakovlev.
"In February 1993," Kryuchkov continues, "a big article of mine was published in "Sovetskaya Rossia" where I told of his (A. Yakovlev's - Author) activities in detail. By the way, I did not call him an influence agent there but I think that the conclusion was obvious. I directly said in one part of the article that I have no questions on the matter." Kryuchkov said that A. Yakovlev had been recruited by the CIA during his study in Columbia University. The head of General Staff S. Akhromeyev confirmed that the military intelligence had had nearly the same information as the KGB. Gorbachev kept silence as ever on these accusations against the "ideologist of perestroika". V. Boldin remembers that "once, signing the Politburo resolution on Yakovlev's trip to Spain or some other country, he said half in joke, "It seems that the resident calls him there."
Kryuchkov writes in his memoirs, "He was undergoing training in the USA, Columbia University and was noticed in establishing relations with American secret services. However, then he managed to present the case as if he had done that to take the opportunity of obtaining important information for the USSR from a closed library. Be as it may, but Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov once told me directly, "Yakovlev is anti-Soviet!"
In the fifties, a photograph was published in the emigrant "Russian Voice" newspaper, portraying A. Yakovlev and O. Kalughin (a high-ranking intelligence officer, traitor to the country) in the company of CIA agents.
Platonov asserts something like that, "We do not know exactly what pieces of silver and how much were paid to influence agents by the masters of the world backstage, but it is clear that these agents sharply became more active in the mid-eighties. In particular, on the initiative of G. Arbatov (the director of the USA Institute) closely related to the Western circles and with the direct assistance of Gorbachev, A. Yakovlev returns and immediately takes the key position in orchestrating anti-Russian processes. He gathered around himself a number of odious personalities who played a dramatic part in the history of our country: V. Korotich, Y. Afanasyev, Y. Yakovlev, G. Popov, Y. Primakov, G. Arbatov. The circle was very narrow at first but Gorbachev's stable support made them confident."
Such accusations against the "fathers of perestroika" were at different times voiced by Ligachev, Bobkov, Yazov, Varennikov, Achalov and many others.
When A. Yakovlev declares that Sumgayit events were the doing of the Soviet secret services, we must certainly pay due attention to this statement. It should be admitted that it requires certain courage to make such a statement. At the same time, it is a simplified approach to the problem. The statement does not relieve Yakovlev of the responsibility for the disorders in the country, the ideologists of which were Yakovlev himself and his boss Gorbachev. Was it not clear that along with genuine democrats, dubious and mafia forces would pour into the organizations of democratic movement Yakovles established all around the country? Was it not clear that the supporting separatism would lead to slaughter? Was it not clear that the main weapon of Armenian separatism would be terror? Was it not clear that all ulcers of the Soviet society, which could not be cured easily, would come to the surface? And finally, was it not clear that foreign secret services become active after having waited for such a moment for decades?
Lumping all the blame for Sumgayit events onto the KGB alone, Yakovlev tried to whitewash himself, choosing an easy but clearly naive way! It would be more logical and truthful for him to reveal the entire chain of the organizers of Sumgayit and similar events, from his home CPSU CC and to the KGB. The author has no doubt that the USSR secret services were active in Sumgayit. In that case, why were Gorbachev and his team inactive? The author knows for sure that several hours after the beginning of Sumgayit events Gorbachev was informed, moreover, he received the information through different channels. In that case, why were the troops inactive, like it was later in Baku? They were not subordinate to the KGB, were they? Something is wrong, some link is missing here!
A link is missing because all sides are to blame for creating the situation where it was hard to build a hierarchy system without comprehensive information.
It is clear today that to put the plans into practice, BOTH SIDES NEEDED CERTAIN CHAOS; THE DIFFERENCE WAS JUST IN THE SCALE OF IT FOR EACH OF THEM. GORBACHEV WANTED A CONTROLLABLE ONE. It was not accidental that in the beginning of perestroika Gorbachev jumped up from his seat and cheerfully clapped his hands at a meeting of the congress of the USS people's deputies, when deputy Travkin said, "Everyone here says that we should not let the gin out of the bottle. We should not let him out, we should push him out! Seventy years have passed; everyone is in their own bottle asleep." Speaking to Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi, Gorbachev says, "We are stormy now. But it will do us good." At the well-known meeting in the USSR Supreme Council, after Sumgayit events, when asked by an Azerbaijan deputy, "Is it possible that Sumgayit events were organized by certain forces?" Gorbachev answered with irritation, "No one organized anything, the troops were just several hours (?! - Author) late, that's all!" Nobody reminded Gorbachev that Baku, where considerable number of Russia military was deployed, is in 20 minutes' journey from Sumgayit, the nearest military base in Nasosny is in 5-7 minutes. Furthermore, since 1989 near Baku, in Pereshkul (a little to the south of Sumgayit; two detachments of the KGB special units were located in Azerbaijan, Pereshkul), an assault combat brigade withdrawn from Afghanistan had been deployed. So, it was totally strange how it all could take hours.
The point was that according to the scenario, the troops were to be brought in the town when all would have been over, which happened in practice. A controllable chaos was what they needed!
This theory is indirectly confirmed by Anatoly Mostovoy who has carried out his own journalist investigation concerning Sumgayit events. He speaks rather of Gorbachev's uncertainty, though.
"The first report on the disorders, somewhat traditionally softened, came the same day, first in the daily summary of operations of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, then as a special report several hours later through the KGB channels. General Secretary was informed an hour later. By that time, the report folder had swollen with the forecasts of the KGB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs experts, who knew the possible dynamics by the example of Novocherkassk, Ferghana, and Alma Ata. The summary reported first nine deaths, mass pogroms, the impotence and escape of the local authorities, which meant that the process was snowballing, becoming irreversible. The experts from the KGB Constitution Protection Department insisted on immediate adequate measures. They knew the meaning of a precedent and its provocative role in the multiethnic Caucasus.
Receiving the information, M. Gorbachev contacted Baku. He seemed reluctant to take upon himself the responsibility for making a decision. Moreover, for the possible consequences.
"I think that Azerbaijan comrades will manage themselves," he concluded. "They have enough forces and means."
Another summary reached Kremlin in the morning of 28 February. 20 deaths at least. The local authorities are unable to control the situation. The information came from the Sumgayit KGB department. The KGB alone was still doing its professional duty, though the head of the office and most employees were Azerbaijani. But they were people who had been in the first flash points of the USSR, including Afghanistan. They knew the price of national-criminal freedom.
Even then Gorbachev brought himself to take some steps. The minister of internal affairs received the order to take measures on stabilization and liquidation of the flash seat of the conflict. The head of the KGB was to provide assistance with all available forces and means."
Gorbachev's behaviour in the emergency situation in Sumgayit was rather suspicious. He needed something different than the immediate stabilization of the situation.
GORBACHEV NEEDED CERTAIN DEGREE OF CHAOS TO DEMONSTRATE TO THE WEST THE DIFFICULTY WITH WHICH HE, THE EPOCH PERSONALITY, OVERCOMES ENORMOUS PROBLEMS CARRYING OUT HIS PERESTROIKA. BESIDES, HE BELIEVED THAT THIS CONTROLLABLE CHAOS WOULD ABSORB HIS POLITICAL OPPONENTS. HE DID HIS BEST TO ORGANIZE MASS MARCHES TO SUPPORT GORBACHEV AGAINST THE OLD ESTABLISHMENT. HOWEVER, HE WAS MISTAKEN AND THE PROCESS TOOK A DIFFERENT TURN.
HIS OPPONENT NEEDED MAXIMUM CHAOS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY, SO THAT GORBACHEV AND HIS PERESTROIKA COULD BURN IN IT. THEY REALIZED THAT THEY WOULD INEVITABLY LEAVE THE POLITICAL STAGE WITH THE BRAND OF SLUGGARDS IF EVERYTHING REMAINED QUIET.
The two situations two sides were striving after now coincided in one thing, and then disagreed, which in many ways determined the contradictory behaviour of Moscow politicians.
Chaos became a powerful political weapon.
It was not accidental that Sandro Viola wrote concerning the State Emergency Committee, "The trump card in the hands of conspirators was the chaos the country was plunged into."
In Radio Liberty programme devoted to the 10th anniversary of August 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev opens some details of that confrontation in the Radio Liberty Moscow studio, "After 1989 of free elections, when 35 secretaries who had all possible and impossible resources (the Soviet period, after all) failed, including the candidate for Politburo membership Solovyev, all of them! You should have heard the talk after all elections and their results! I could not have them sit down and begin conversation. Because, you know, the situation was like that, General Secretary says to be quiet, and we all begin working. Give your opinion, a different one, so to say… A totally controllable process, you see, democratic one, though, because our Politburo was democratic.
But that was not the case them. I say, "What is wrong? What is that? We should be proud, it is a victory. People have supported perestroika. See, we have had the election, 10-15 persons for a place. And the results are 86% of deputies are Communists." And then I hear in Politburo, "What kind of Communist are they?" Oh, it is so? So, you are Communists, those who failed are Communists, but not those elected, is it so?
The establishment felt that democracy, glasnost is when it is discussed openly, people ask questions in public… It is what it all began with. After 1989, the part that had not accepted perestroika started consolidating."
Naturally, they consolidated against Gorbachev and his perestroika and any unrest in the country was like manna from heaven for them.
The depth of discord between those forces and Gorbachev is expressed by Yegor Ligachev three years after the State Emergency Committee coup in an interview to "Al Estampa".
Question: Was there a split between you and Gorbachev, in particular concerning nationalism manifestations?
Ligachev: Yes, they were the third item in our disagreement, they most serious one. When the conflict began in Nagorno-Karabakh in 1988 we met very often and argued much. Of course, he was very worried. But he continued to speak of extremist forces and did not want to take any measures to restore the order. We know the result, thousands of deaths, hundreds of thousands refugees, dangerous tension for the entire USSR.
Question: Do you think it is Gorbachev's fault?
Ligachev: I only say what I used to say then. The real danger for perestroika is not conservatism but separatist antisocialist nationalism splitting the country. I know that Gorbachev agrees with me not, too. But the underestimate of this point in the course of several years was fatal…
It is clear that Ligachev's supporters welcomed Sumgayit events, since they realized that these events were a blow upon Gorbachev's perestroika, but they believed that the collapse of the USSR was still far.
Pozkov remembers that when he advised Oleg Semenovich Shenin to the post of the leader of the Russian Communist Party, Gorbachev felt hurt and said sharply, "Do you want to leave me alone with those bitches?" and nodded somewhere aside.
The forces that opposed Gorbachev that time are well characterized by Sandro Viola in the article "The Day when Communism died in Moscow".
"But who were those people who planned the conspiracy and led the course of the coup d'etat in the first hours of 19 August, 1991, each from his own study? To answer this question, it is necessary first to have the idea about the Soviet leaders who came to power in the period from the early sixties to the late eighties. Alexander Solzhenitsyn called that 30 years period "the period of reverse selection" that led to the formation of the interlayer of the most illiterate and unqualified leaders in modern history.
The class of "stone butts" formed in the depth of party bureaucratic establishment which stuck to its privileges tight, was cynical, unable to cope with the disorders in the totally shattered political system. However, "the phenomenon of Gorbachev" that emerged in that swamp has nothing in common with the mediocrity and sclerotic conservatism of the people on the crest of power in the USSR. Mikhail Gorbachev and his friends, who had appeared downstage and felt possible and probably near end of the system, made up the pitiable minority in the Central Committee and Politburo. The level of their grounding hardly went beyond the average coefficients typical of representatives of the Soviet hierarchy; nevertheless they felt intuitively that the foundation of the state and the party had collapsed. They felt deeply hurt with the political, economic and spiritual degradation of the Soviet Union. They intended to take necessary measures to improve the situation. Apart from that small group, the other two or three hundred people in whose hand state power rested can be compared to pathetic fragments of the Lenin system. In the period between 1985 and 1990, they all were together with Gorbachev and "perestroika". They hoped that something would be able to give the existing system new breath, new energy. However, the timid, random and ambiguous actions of Gorbachev resulted in the USSR collapse (unrest in the Baltic republics and in the Caucasus, general poverty and even famine in some regions). It was then that they plucked all their courage and decided to act. In other words, to restore the situation that had existed before Gorbachev came to power."
The situation was complicated by the fact that in the chaos different departments acted in their own way according to their interests, no matter what groups they were members of, and the adversaries did not disdain to use any means. Gorbachev speaks concerning the tenth anniversary of the coup in Radio Liberty studio, "Then the definite talk about the staff began. Much was to be changed. The names of Kryuchkov, Yazov and all aged over 70 were voiced. The staff should be changed due to the changed objectives. And it turned out that all this had been taped. When Kryuchkov turned on the tape, Yazov, so to say, got worked up and agreed to take part in that (the State Emergency Committee coup - Author)." The holy of holies of President of the superpower is tapped.
Boris Yeltsin writes in his book "President's Notes" concerning the State Emergency Committee coup, "The putsch was extremely contradictory from the beginning to the very end… Interests of two departments clashed… The military industrial complex wanted a real, full-fledged thundering putsch to make the world believe in the power of the Soviet tank again. The KGB wanted the clearest, elegant shift of power."
His is not the first confession of Russian politicians about the clash of interests of different powerful departments belonging to one and the same group. Naturally, given the air of mystery about Sumgayit events, a question arises. What were the common points and differences of these departments in Sumgayit?
It is striking that in this deadly struggle, as the further events showed, either side could not clearly determine the limits of the chaos they needed, as a result of which either side created chaos in the country, believing that it was outsmarting the other. None of them had a well-thought system, they were catching each other at mistakes and the country was forgotten!
Certain forces furthering the USSR collapse knew well what and what for they were doing in Sumgayit. "Why such a convinced anti-Semite as Cossack ataman Petr Krasnov did not allow a single pogrom of Jews in 1918-1919 in the territory of the Great Don Army he was in charge of? Because he saw that looting and pogroms, whoever they may be committed against, are the shortest way to shatter state interests, to the general chaos and disorganization," Sergey Markedonov writes.
That was the first large-scale all-USSR experiment on the organization of the collapse of state institutions leading to the general chaos and disorganization. And that suited both certain forces in the CPSU CC, the KGB and Armenian extremists.
The details of the Sumgayit-like operations are opened by the former KGB general O. Gordiyevsky who defected to the West, "In January 1959, Shelepin established a new misinformation D department (later called A service) with a little more than 50 employees initially. It was headed by General Ivan Ivanovich Agayants up to his death in 1968.
He worked as a resident in Tehran from 1941 to 1943, in Paris from 1946 to 1949 (under the pseudonym of Avalov), then headed the Western Europe department KI, Ministry of State Security and the KGB. Agayants's appointment as the head of the department was obliged to his preparation of a series of false memoirs and other literary works, including the "memoirs" of General Vlasov "I Am Choosing Gibbet", the equally false Ivan Krylov's "My Career in the Soviet Supreme Command" and the imaginary correspondence between Stalin and Tito published in "Karfur" monthly, in which Tito confessed his Trotskyist sympathies…
One of the first objects of Agayants as the head of D department in 1959 was West Germany that the KGB strived to show as controlled by neo-Nazis. To test one of the "active measures" before realizing it in Germany, Agayants sent a group of his agents to a village nearly in 50 km from Moscow with instructions to draw swastika, write anti-Semite slogans and overturn tombs under the cover of dark. KGB informants reported that though the incident had worried the most villages, a few of them were inspired to imitate the KGB provocation, committing anti-Semite acts on their own initiative. In the winter of 1959-1960 Agayants successfully used the same tactics in the FRG as well. Agents from East Germany were sent to the West with guidelines to desecrate and demolish Jewish memorials, synagogues and shops and draw anti-Semite slogans. Local bandits and neo-Nazis quickly joined the KGB campaign. Anti-Semite acts were registered by the FRG authorities between the Christmas Eve of 1959 and the mid-February of 1960. Then the campaign abruptly stopped but the international reputation of the FRG was fairly undermined. West German politicians and religious leaders bowed down with shame in public. New York Herald Tribune summarized the reaction of the most foreign press with the headline Bonn Unable to Get Rid of Nazi Venom.
"There has been a special D department in the KGB since 1959," M. Heller confirms, "which sole task is "misinformation". The legendary founder of the department, General Ivan Agayants, is the author of a part of numerous well-known operations. For instance, he orchestrated neo-Nazi and anti-Semite actions in 20 cities of West Germany, in Oslo, Paris, Vienna, London, New York, Milan in 1959." The scale is impressive!
It is amazing how accurately Agayants methods were applied to Sumgayit, of course, considering local situation and time factor.
Agayants has undoubtedly left followers, in the "long-suffering" country as well.
President of Russia V. Putin also confirms the fact that there are still questions to ask the KGB concerning its actions in different anti-constitutional campaigns in the USSR. Here is his interview to "Kommersant-Vlast", 21 August, 2001.
When asked, "Were you worried (concerning the KGB involvement in the State Emergency Committee putsch - Author)?" he answered, "…I was scared. It was actually, such a breakdown in the life, with a crunch… On returning from the GDR, I saw that something was wrong in Russia, but it was only in the putsch days that the aims I had had when I had started working in the KGB crumbled. Of course, it was fantastically hard to go through, since I had spent most of my life there. But the choice was made."
Spontaneous disorders mean that it is difficult to find elements of organization in the events; all elements are as a rule not connected with one another and do not make up a whole. As for Sumgayit events, it was found out late that there was a considerable number of disorder elements, i.e. it was nothing but a controllable chaos (we know as a fact that well-to-do Armenians withdrew all their savings from the bank and left the city several months before the beginning of Sumgayit events).
The behaviour of the crowd in Sumgayit was calculated with mathematic accuracy (the KGB was particularly interested in the problem at all times), we have the events but not the entire picture! In the process of simulation these events, other specific circumstances were taken into account, too.
"Crowd," Tarde wrote, "is a heap of heterogeneous elements, unfamiliar with one another. As soon as a spark of passion, jumping from one to another, electrifies this disorderly mass, the latter assumes something like a sudden self-generating organization. Isolation transforms into connection, noise transforms into something monstrous striving after its aim with unreserved persistence. The majority came here driven by plain curiosity but the fever that gripped a few suddenly captures everyone's heart and everyone is striving after destruction. A man that came here just to prevent death of the innocent is one of the first to catch the striving after manslaughter, and more amazingly, is not surprised at this at all." We can add that there were people in this crowd who had endured hellfire in Armenia!
"The author of these lines," Z. Alizade writes, "happened to visit that temporarily "closed" city with the lecture group of "Knowledge" Society ten days after the pogrom and meet the workers of engineering shop of the aluminum plant. They all, Amrenians, Azerbaijani, and Russian, asked indignantly, "Who had done that? What do we, workers, have in common with it?" Amo, a worker, Armenian, thanked his Azerbaijani neighbours who had hidden him and his family from the thugs, accused "mafia" in Armenia and Azerbaijan, but said that he would not stay in Sumgayit. Sumgayit workers spoke of strange young men that had been turning the crowd on. Who those strangers were, whether it was true or just a fancy's child, I did not know then and do not know now, after more than ten years, either."
No, it was not a "fancy's child". Those days Sumgayit was flooded with different provocateurs. O. Kulish, D. Melikov wrote in their article "Black Seeds Will Not Sprout" in "Soviet Industry", 27 March, 1988, immediately after Sumgayit events, "Many of those we managed to talk to tell directly of a whole chain of provocative actions designed to embitter people, sow panic, distrust. Take, for instance, hysterical screams of the man who told the crowd in the square in Sumgayit the horrible story of his family allegedly tortured by "Armenian murderers". When the competent authorities dealt with the "victim" they found out that he was by no means a peaceful inhabitant of Kafan he had been pretending to be, but a previously convicted recidivist, homeless sponger without dependents."
The authors of the articles should not have put the expression "Armenian murderers" who were responsible for the murder of 265 Azerbaijanis in quotes, but the confirmed fact is Sumgayit was indeed flooded with such provocateurs those days.
A witness of Sumgayit events, William Rusyan rmembers, "At the height of Sumgayit pogroms, not suspecting anything (there was no information on pogroms in Baku), I drove from Baku to work in Sumgait, as usually, by my "Zhiguli". On the way I was surprised to see tanks, since they were not frequent guests there. It was even worse in Sumgayit, shooting, a burning bus, dead people lying. You would think that any sane man's reaction is quite evident, to leave the place as soon as possible. But I drove to the plant! I cannot say why, it did not even occur to me that there might be a threat for me. Director saw me and was terrified, "Don't you know that they are killing all Armenians?" I asked, "Why?" "I don't know," he answered, "I'll give you three armed guys to accompany to Baku." I should say that even in the Soviet time guns were not rare in Sumgayit. Murders happened sometimes, but for money as a rule, not for nationality. One of my companions sat behind the wheel, I sat in the backseat between two armed guys. We got to Baku safely, without incidents. Director insisted that I should not come to work for two weeks for safety reasons and generally should not appear outside in the troublous times. To support me, he even sent me food with his driver. That was great moral assistance, for I was not in material need, being a rather well-to-do man. It became clear later that my friends had realized the danger facing me better than I had myself. About two weeks later director called me and said that it seemed that everything was quiet in Sumgayit and that I could get down to work. Destiny spared me that time. I appeared in Sumpayit at the height of the pogroms and left unharmed. And, frankly speaking, I drew no special conclusions. My Azerbaijani friends treated me well as ever, and that reassured me. It did not occur to me that next day I could meet other, strange Azerbaijanis, for whom I would not be a friend, but just an Armenian, enemy. And I was not the only one who thought so, was I?" William Rusyan wrote this in Yerevan and surely could not tell the whole truth, but even so it demonstrates the attitude of native Sumgayit population to the events.
After careful study of the actions of Convent, Napoleon said, "Les crimes collectives n'enegagent presonne" (mass crimes are irresponsible).
All the elements of this controllable chaos in Sumgayit were arranged so that they could strike the strongest possible blow on the image of Baku.
And so it happened in practice. Baku suffered a powerful informational blow after which it could not recover for a very long time.
V. Yudenko gives his assessment to the events that happened after Brezhnev's death, including Sumgayit events, "Brezhnve's death mush have become a kind of sign for the Western forces which had declared the cold war and for which the Second World War was not over in 1945. The CPSU CC apparatus was concerned with the struggle for power at that time and the country was left without supreme authority. Immediately after that the first provocation took place, the incident with the Korean aircraft carrier in 1983. The Western mass media blew up an unprecedented hysteria at once and inclined the public opinion against the "evil empire". This foulest play ever seen has been naturally refuted a thousand times. TV-6 broadcasted a British documentary some time ago that demonstrated clearly the involvement of the CIA in that incident. But then it had its impact, the aim was achieved and the entire public opinion was against us. Then Gorbachev was frightened with SDI, star wars and we allegedly had nothing to respond with. Then Rust landed in the Red Square thereby casting some doubt on the country's defence capacity. (It is even pointless to prove that Rust's venture was a planned action.) And then it all developed, Sumgayit, digging tools, Lithuania etc. Everyone knows that, and the readers can easily continue. The only diagnosis of all those events is provocation. Such version, such interpretation of the events has right to life. Howeve, more importantly, he sees a large international provocation in Sumgayit events but not by any means Azerbaijan trace.
THE AUTHOR FINDS DIFFICULTY IN DRAWING UNAMBIGUOUS CONCLUSIONS FROM THE ACTIONS OF THE ADVERSARIES IN THAT MUDDY TROUBLED POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT CREATED BY GORBACHEV, SINCE THAT REQUIRES MUCH MORE FACTS. HOWEVER, THE MUTUAL ACCUSATIONS AND REPROACHES UNEQUIVOCALLY DEMONSTRATE THAT THE KITCHEN WHERE SUMGAYIT EVENTS WERE STEWED WAS NOT SITUATED IN BAKU. BOTH THE CPSU CC AND THE KGB WERE IN MOSCOW AND THE CENTRES OF THE COLD WAR WERE FAR FROM BAKU.
THE CONCRETE PARTICIPANTS OF SUMGAYIT EVENTS WERE NOT LEADING BUT LED. We can say that they suffered for someone else's mistakes.
The deputy head of the KGB Philipp Denisovich Bobkov describes the beginning of Sumgayit events as follows, "Unlike other towns of Azerbaijan where passions had been restrained and people had not been allowed into the streets, not less than five thousands people gathered before the city committee of the party in Sumgayit. The tension reached its climax when Azerbaijanis from Kafan region of Armenia appeared in the square and told of the pogroms Armenians had committed in the regions where mainly Azerbaijanis had lived. Oil was poured on the flame by the appearance of the poetess Sylvia Kaputikyan on the Armenian TV, who told about her meeting with M.S. Gorbachev in Moscow, and then by the message from Yerevan. The message reported that the Chief Military Prosecutor of the Soviet Armenia A.N. Katusev had said that he knew about the two deaths in Azerbaijan and that according to his information, there were no Armenians among the victims. Katusev, a clever, strong-willed and quite diplomatic man, could not but make this statement before the raging crowd in the Yerevan square." It is hard to say how sincere this reasoning is, but it is striking that he completely rules out the Azerbaijan trace, while the Armenian side, the Soviet mass media and different kinds of democrats were trumpeting that all over the world.
It should be pointed out that Yakovlev did not speak of the Azerbaijan trace in Sumgayit events either, i.e. both adversaries were trying to clear up everything between themselves.
Moreover, there undoubtedly was a need in such a determining action as perestroika, though a different, systematic and controllable one, and to complete it successfully, all basic departments of the country should have interacted accurately and realized reforms according to a single plan, everyone should have done what they were meant to do. Instead of that, intrigues began both among the basic administrative bodies of the USSR and inside them. The administrative bodies of the country started crossing up one another, while chief politicians of the country, as it became clear from their memoirs later, furiously hating one another were happy about every failure of colleagues. They reminded Roman senators in the period of the downfall of the Roman Empire. In that situation, Sumgayit events were a general occasion for disobedience and a balm for their bleeding wounds.
The Armenian side kept and keeps on saying that the leadership of Azerbaijan had connived at Sumgayit events. IT IS HARD TO INVENT A GREATER LIE. IN THE BEGINNING OF THE EVENTS BAKU SUFFERED SUCH A POWERFUL INFORMATIONAL BLOW THAT IT CANNOT RECOVER SO FAR.
WE BELIEVE THAT THE ARMENIAN SIDE WAS WELL AWARE OF THE ORGANIZERS OF SUMGAYIT EVENTS BUT IT WAS MORE USEFUL FOR THEM TO SHIFT THE BLAME ON BAKU, WHICH THEY WERE DOING WITH THE SILENT CONSENT OF THE TRUE CULPRITS. THIS MODEL SUITED ALL SIDES.
K. Brutents writes in his memoirs, "Sumgayit gave the Karabakh problem A NEW DIMENSION (highlighted by author). It made the conflict acute, with the extreme zeal of the sides and increasing readiness for violent methods of solution. In these conditions, THE NEXT LOGICAL STAGE OF CONFLICT DEVELOPMENT BECAME WAR (highlighted by author), and it was not far off. Meanwhile, the central authority continued to stick to its guns with amazing and even desperate stubbornness, probably already realizing the hopelessness of its line."
This important confession of the advocate of Karabakh separatists causes the following questions. WHO NEEDED THE WAR? WHO HAD BEEN PREPARING FOR IT FOR DECADES? WHO HAD BEEN HANKERING AFTER THE NEIGHBOURS' LANDS? WHO HAD BEEN NURTURING HATRED FOR THE NEIGHBOURS EVEN IN THE SOVIET TIME? IT WAS DEFINITELY NOT AZERBAIJAN!
Some time after Sumgayit events, the head of Sumgayit, head of the Azerbaijan KGB department and the first secretary of Azerbaijan.
Did the head of Sumgayit D. Muslimzade who had been on the crest of his political career need these events?
The authorities of the republic were controlling the situation with great difficulty; the events like those in Sumgayit meant the end of their political career; so it happened.
In February 1988, the regional council of Bagorno-Karabakh demanded passing the oblast to Armenia. "To exhort them," remembers V. Huseynov, "first the second secretary of the Central Committee of Azerbaijan Communist Party Konovalov arrived, then the first secretary Baghirov. But they were simply driven out of the meeting room… It is generally known and is confirmed by the entire Baghirov's circle that he had always been ready for negotiations with the separatists and panicked at bloodshed; Sumgayit events were a tragedy to him."
Baghirov was a decent but weak-willed leader. The day before the pogrom, Sumgayit was visited by the first secretary of the Communist Party Kamran Baghirov and the deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers Gasan Seyidov. In the evening, they attended a meeting with the citizens in the large chemists club. The audience flooded the officials with questions and accusations, "They are occupying Karabakh. Why don't you take any measures?" "Azerbaijanis are driven away from Armenia, why don't you take any measures?" and so on. One began reading the list of killed Azerbaijanis in Armenia. The situation grew so strained that the leaders of the republic had to escape through the backdoor and literally flee to Baku. Baghirov never entered the dialogue with the people, he was a weak polemist. Another tragedy of Baghirov was the lack of his supporters in the Bureau of the Central Committee of the Azerbaijan SSR. According to one member of the Bureau, at an "amicable" dinner, Karen Brutents literally insulted Baghirov in the course of discussion on the Karabakh problem. Baghirov's "comrade-in-arms" were laughing in their sleeves and nobody opposed Brutents.
Looking ahead, we should say that the lack of supporting team was the weakest point of Baghirov, as well as of Vezirov and Mutalibov.
Vezirov could not have such by definition. Mutalibov's comrades-in-arms waited impatiently for the moment to take his place.
Z. Todua writes, "By the night of 14 May, 1992, the crowd of marchers in front of the parliament had thinned out considerably. When the advices "to use power" became too importunate, Mutalibov came up to the window and said to his retinue, "You say that those persons down there are not the people, that the people supports us. Let us assume that. But show me at least twenty or thirty people that would speak in our support. Where are our supporters? Exactly. They are not here."
Mutalibov never brought himself to call the troops to disperse the marchers; it was both his strong and weak point, while as we know, weakness influences the situation faster in politics. So it happened, on 15 May he left Baku again as politician for ever!
Returning to the most important point, let us note that the strategic mistake of the Bureau of the Central Committee of the Azerbaijan SSR members was also that they tried to shift the blame for the events on D. Muslimzade in full accordance with Communist principles, instead of trying to find out the truth. Afterwards, this ostrich policy painfully hit the political positions of Baku (later, People's Front of Azerbaijan chose the same easy way. Coming to power, they arrested V. Huseynov for his participation in January events, declaring him nearly the only one to blame for them).
We should say that Sumgayit Armenians realized that something strange was going on. None of them wanted to go to Armenia.
Nikolay M., an officer of the special unit of the Red Banner Caspian Fleet, a participants of Sumgayit events, remembers, "The saved Armenians were asked where they wanted to move, to mention familiar people that could receive them and sent them there. It was amazing that all Armenians asked to send them to Russia, mainly to Krasnodar region, Rostove region, Chaltyr, there is such Armenian settlement near Rostov. And none of them wanted to go to Armenia!"
This is confirmed by another participant of the events, the then chairman of the Party Committee of the Azerbaijan SSR Community Party Central Committee R. Akhundov, who says that about three thousand Armenians gathered in the club demanded organized resettlement to Krasnodar and Stavropol regions, and no one wanted to go to Armenia.
We know today that certain forces chose Sumgayit for some reasons.
The public is well familiar with the events in Novovcherkassk in Khruschev's times but few know that something like that happened in Sumgayit in 1963. There was no bread in the petrochemical city, and even potato, according to one of the city's heads.
During the November celebrations, unrest began in the city. The marchers began crying out anti-government slogans and burning portraits of Politburo members. There were fierce clashes with militia that resulted in human casualties. The order was restored by the military units that entered the city several hours later.
Dmitry Furman writes, "the industrial centre with a lot of hazardous work conditions and such ecological situation that there was a popular joke in Azerbaijan as if citizens of Sumgayit could even survive in gas chambers." In his book published long before Sumgayit events, I. Zemtsov depicts Sumgayit as a horrible city with lumpen population and enormous crime rate, "Since the foundation of Sumgayit in 1947, 11,108 people have been severely injured. During those years, 6,000 people died through violence, more than was born in Sumgayit in 1972." In 1963 a spontaneous uprising of lower classes occurred in Sumgayit due to the food shortage.
The KGB was undoubtedly well aware of this all.
The famous journalist S. Perets recalls his conversation with Kalinichenko. "Why do you think trials on Sumgayit die out?" Kalinichenko asked turning his face with unhealthy knobby skin to me. And he answered himself constantly blinking his light water-transparent eyes, "When the victims realized at the trial that Grigoryan is Armenian, all, you see, all of them renounced their evidences. You say there is a video. Yes, there is. By the way, the video alone shows him polishing off six people… But for the court video is like air, sorry… Not a proof… in full accordance with Criminal Code… Well, they gave him 14 years. And it's rather doubtful that it won't be reduced. Akhmedov was shot just for one corpse… So we can't go on any more…" Kalinichenko waved his finger under my nose. "No-no… And generally, you ever thought, why the cameramen on the roofs? Did they knew the root? Have you ever thought?.."
In the first days of Aumgayit events and after them Armenian propaganda trumpeted all over the world about hundreds of killed and wounded in Sumgayit.
Without even knowing, Brutents exposed one of the greatest propaganda provocations of the Armenian side. He writes in his memoirs, "There was an explosion in Sumgayit, 31 deaths, 6 Azerbaijanis, the rest are Armenians." His figures are unquestionable.
The head of the KGB Z department Vladimir Lutsenko and the head of the 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 separatists realized pretty well who and how was orchestrating Sumgayit events and they were willingly cooperated with these forces, as it met their interests. The main thing for them was to show the Azerbaijan people as a savage avenger for Karabakh events which were naturally shown as a liberation movement. And they made it seem that the authorities had been preparing for these events in advance. With this purpose, different rumours were spread, some of which are even improper to write about.
In his interview to "Izvestia" the deputy General Prosecutor Katusev said, "Different fabrications continue to hamper the investigation. In particular, rumours are spread that on the eve of mass disorders lists of Armenians were drawn in the city for their physical annihilation, that metal bars and other objects were specially manufactured at the facilities. That the employees of communication centres intentionally turned off telephones in Armenian flats. And so on. To check up this information, investigators interrogated a large number of Sumgayit citizens, workers of facilities, employees of housing departments, communication centres and other services. And none of those declarations was confirmed."
It was not accidental that Grigoryan, alias "Pasha", Armenian by origin, was the first to kill several Armenians in Sumgayit.
One of "Krunk" leaders A. Manucharov said, "We will make them shoot at us!" Brutents recalls, "At the meeting of intellectuals in NKAO the headmaster of a musical school screamed hysterically, "You (Moscow - K.B.) don't think of us as of people, we are a herd for you. Well, shoot, shoot…" It was a well-trained battle cry of separatists.
Churchill used to say, "Nothing is as inspiring as the fact that you were shot at and missed." Perhaps, it is even more inspiring when you call for that loudly and openly, knowing that no one is going to shoot at you!
In Sumgayit events Grigoryan showed how to do this but he was not shot at either then or later.
Doctor of law, the chief scientist of the Military Research Institute of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs Yuri Antonyan determines motives of terrorists as follows, without saying names. "The only motive of terrorists is striving after power.. And do not forget that as more corpses as possible are welcome to them, corpses of their own people. It is profitable to them, it is what they want! That inclines public opinion in their favour. And it suits them if their terrorist acts cause repressions…"
P. Lukimson writes in his book "Sumgayit through the Eyes of a Jew", "The cameramen who were coolly shooting the events from the first minutes of the pogroms remain anonymous. In several days all European TV channels broadcasted these tapes. " Well, what happened in Sumgayit is clear even through the eyes of a Chukchi.
That dreadful film about Sumgayit events, the core of Armenian propaganda of these events, was demonstrated in all countries of Europe and America. You can imagine the power of this informational impact on Baku.
Maksud Ibrahimbekov who saw the film in Sweden tells, "The breathtaking visual series is supplemented with not less terrifying audio one. One of the characters described from the screen to the dumb-founded Swedes the scene of the murder of his friend Misha and his wife, which he had naturally witnessed. After heads of Misha and his wife were cut off, thirty Azerbaijanis pounced on their young daughter. They raped her in turns, then cut into small pieces, lit the fire in barbecue, prepared and ate with gusto human shashlik kebab. You can't imagine what we have to suffer from these beasts!" said the eyewitness Gabrielyan in conclusion."
Maksud Ibrahimbekov said that after watching this disgusting thing he had not recovered for several days.
The epilogue of this picture could be the words of A. Makarov from his article "Reflections in the Time of Trouble" published in "Sovetskaya Kultura" on 29 December, 1988, "We all, journalists, writers, propagandists made a dramatic mistake, not mourning properly the victims of Sumgayit nationwide, regardless of their Armenian nationality, just as innocent Soviet people. We did not curse the instigators and murderers, again regardless of their Azerbaijani nationality, but generally as scum of the earth."
"Pravda" published the appeal of Y. Yevtushenko to the Armenian and the Azerbaijan peoples to stop the bloodshed INITIATED (highlighted by the author) in Sumgayit. It was another provocation of the poet against Baku, since the bloodshed began in Armenia when hundreds of thousands Azerbaijanis were driven from long-occupied places.
After Sumgayit events and in the following 2-3 years, continuous meetings were held near the Armenian church in Moscow not far from Vagankovo cemetery. The authorities of Moscow created all conditions for these meetings; organizers received a permanent permission for meetings. There has never been such a case in the USSR. The marchers were protected "against Azerbaijan provocations" by Moscow militia. By the order of Mayor's office, the head of Moscow militia Major General Petr Bogdanov regularly came to check up whether the marchers had any problems. Moscow intellectuals and representatives of foreign embassies were also invited to the meetings. Representatives of the French embassy were habitues of these meetings. Ardent speeches were said, the Azerbaijan people was called fascists. Nuykin spoke at the meeting, "Representatives of this butcher people shoud be evicted from Russia." Starovoytova proposed introducing a special form of administration of Azerbaijan railways. Chernichenko proposed introducing direct presidential administration in NKAO etc. At one of these meetings, professor of philology from MSU, NKAO native Grant Episkoposov spoke. He condemned Sumgayit events and continued, "The Azerbaijani are to apologize for Sumgayit, and in that case, to avoid further bloodshed, we can enter a dialogue with them." Professor was catcalled and a strapper pulled his off the rostrum, after which he had a heart attack. The marchers demanded one thing, "Blood for blood!" The meetings were attended by political and public figures, scientists, writers, famous artists, Voznesensky, Yevtushenko, Bykov, Okujava, Fazxil Iskander, Asadov, Chilingarov, Kvasha and many others, some of the made speeches. The world's major TV channels broadcasted lengthy fragments of the meetings. They continued several years and struck a powerful informational blow on Baku.
The official bodies of the USSR did not stay aside either. Karakozov, Gdlyan and Ivanov from the USSR Prosecutor's office arranged more than an hour's long programme on Leningrad TV where Sumgayit events were shown in horrible scenes and the Azerbaijan people was insulted. There was no trial yet, but they were already talking of execution.
A friend of ours who studied for Doctor's degree in Leningrad at the time recalls that he was ashamed of attending the institute after that programme, as everyone was turning away from him.
It happened in practice; on court order several people were executed by shooting for Sumgayit events.
Dozens of thousands people were killed in the course of ethnic clashes in the entire area of the former USSR, but we can hardly remember anyone executed under court sentence. Such "attention" was paid only to the participants of Sumgayit events, thereby stressing the exceptionality of these events against the background of the blazing USSR.
The second secretary of the Central Committee of Armenian Communist Party O. Lobov, later the secretary of the Security Council of Russia, who was eggs expert prior to his political career, says concerning Sumgayit events, "The same sharp estimate is to be given to Sumgayit vandalism… We should give the people of Nagorno-Karabakg an opportunity to live without the dictate of the Soviet republic… To arrange a kind of presidential administration."
He was speaking of the same things on Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and many other Russian TV channels.
"Russian secret services trained Aum Shinrikyo militants and Kremlin was aware of the fact, while the secretary of the Security Council O. Lobov was patronizing them and was on friendly terms with the head of that sinister sect Asahara. Asahara paid 20,000 dollars for the training of each militant. This money was transferred from Japan to Russian bank accounts and mysteriously disappeared." Mysteriously, did they?
In an hour's long programme on RTR channel on 24 January, 2004, they said that members of the sect had been amazed at the paternal care of Lobov. With his assistance they purchase everything they wanted in Russia, even helicopters.
When Aum Shinrikyo showed its true face Lobov said, "Russian secret services should have warned me about the activity of this organization." Even if you, Lobov, were fooled, which is rather doubtful, why do you try to make fools of others?
The writer Sero Khanzadyan in all his interviews and publications alleged that about 450 Armenians had been killed in Sumgayit and he saw the corpses with number tags on the hands with his own eyes in the morgue. "Fascist monsters burst into the city hospital and maternity hospital, found Armenian new-born children by tags and threw them out of windows, and disembowelled Armenian women in labour."
He was echoed by Yelena Alikhanyan-Bonner who told even more terrible "facts" on all TV channels. It is improper to write what he was saying but her words spread in many Soviet mass media, terrifying Soviet people! Her husband A. Sakharov was keeping up with her. And there is endless number of such examples.
As we can understand from A. Lebed's books, Sumgayit events became his starting point for revenge to the Azerbaijan people. In one of his books he writes, "Then, in February and March 1988 an unpredictable, unexpected, savage, bloody and mean page of Motherland and my personal biography started. The most grievous fact is that meanness, immorality and unscrupulousness proceeded from the people who took high posts in the state… Sumgayit smelled of medieval sadism, animal, inhuman brutality often mixed with stupidity…"
Some provocateurs arrange a large provocation, some catch it up, and others make their career on it. A common picture!
The Azerbaijan people was stabbed in the back in Sumgayit events by the member of Presidium of the USSR Supreme Council, poet Rasul Gamzatov. Definitely taking pro-Armenian position, together with A. Sakharov he demanded the Gorbachev should call the events in Sumgayit the genocide of Armenians.
…The moon is floating above the silent sea,
And its night waves are telling me
That you, Baku, for better or for worse,
Are my beloved blood brother for good.
And you and I will never be apart,
We share one fate, we share one heart.
And let the Caspian rejoicing surf
Sing of our eternal brotherhood.
Rasul Gamzatov, "Baku"
Owing to the Armenian propaganda, every time Azerbaijan was mentioned in different political or business circles it was clear that all present were aware of Sumgayit events and naturally in Armenian interpretation.
Sumgayit events became the basic point in assessment of Karabakh separatism in the CPSU CC; they were invariably mentioned in all speeches and resolutions,
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. They recall, "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."
A serious adjustment should be made here. Ligachev avoided public statements on the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Being a stable partocrat, he proposed different party methods: to expel the organizers of separatism from the party, to carry out re-registration of NKAO Communists, to disband party organization of the striking facilities and so on.
The last Soviet Prime Minister V. Pavlov is right about Ligachev, according to Ligachev's aid Valery Legostayev, writing in his book "August from Within" (Moscow, 1993), "In 1986-1988 he probably had more power than Gorbachev or Yakovlev." Nevertheless, he did not take a firm position on condemning Karabakh separatism; like Gorbachevm he did not support them but he did not condemn them publicly either!
The most important thing in this distribution of roles among the representatives of the higher echelons of power was different. It was generally known that the honest partocrat Ligachev represents the most conservative layers of the CPSU and has no influence in perestroika processes. Western politicians and mass media were also unfavourable to him. As a matter of fact, he did not plan any activity in Baku; he conducted some closed meetings where he mainly proposed fighting "Aliyev's heritage" and went away as unnoticed as he had come.
Another pair of shoes was the chief ideologist of perestroika, the man whose opinion was considered by the whole world. Yakovlev's behaviour in Yerevan was totally different from that of Ligachev in Baku. He spoke at crowded meetings, condemning Sumgayit events, supporting Karabakh separatists, gave numerous interviews to representatives of Western mass media, arranged meetings with intellectuals etc.
Unlike Ligachev, Yakovlev said unambiguously, "Karabakh movement if not separatism but striving after freedom and democracy". Sumgayit events were defined by him as a "genocide of the Armenian people" (he will declare later, when the tension is gone, that the events had been organized by the KGB).
A CPSU CC official, a member of the NKAO Committee of Special Administration V. Sidorov expressed in "Argumenty i Facty" his opinion which became standard, "Another concept began to consolidate in the public conscience of the Azerbaijan population by means of mass media, speeches of intellectuals and the republic's leaders. It says that the protests of Karabakh population are insulting for the Azerbaijani, that the demands for reviewing the borders are an insult to the national honour, encroachment on the sovereignty etc. Sometimes these speeches, even made by the chief executives, sounded simply hysterical, calling to defend every inch, every bush of the home land by all means… All this caused so hysterical atmosphere in the republic and the events in Sumgayit became possible." In other words, Sumgayit events were a logical result of the processes developing in the republic. It is hard to make up a more provocative interpretation of Sumgayit events!
Provocations of party officials of different levels, from Politburo members to rank-and-file functionaries, against Baku, concerning Sumgayit events, became usual practice.
The closest aid of Gorbachev and political provocateur A.S. Chenyayev writes in his memoirs about the events of the late 1988, "They began burn APCs in Baku, even tanks, killed two Russian soldiers, carry green flags and Khomeini's portraits along the streets, calling to arrange "Sumgayit" for all Armenians in Azerbaijan."
Another curious scene. At that time, the author was in Thessalonica with the USSR national chess team on chess Olympics. One day, the interpreter of the chess delegation (and an intelligence officer by many signs) approached the author and said with evident gloating delight, "Do you know that the entire Baku is covered with Khomeini's portraits?" It was actually impossible to call to Baku from Thessalonica that time and the sports commentator of Mayak radiostation Naum Dymarsky showed priceless assistance to the author; he connected the author with Baku through the Moscow studio. The author spoke to many friends of his who heard of Khomeini's portraits from him for the first time. When the author returned to Baku his wife confessed that in the time of her conversation with Thessalonica a tank convoy had been passing their house.
The well-known propaganda system was working perfectly; misinformation was spread by the aid of the USSR president and common squeaker.
Naturally, the US Senate did not stay aside from Sumgayit events. 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." As clear as it could ever be! Few knew of this resolution then, but its meaning became evident on 20 January, 1990, when the USA "sympathized" with the barbaric action of Gorbachev.
As we mentioned above, Sumgayit events played the part they had been meant to, becoming a powerful informational weapon in the hands of Armenian separatists. They had nearly crucial influence on the international public opinion that definitely sided with the Armenians. It could not be different with that interpretation of the events!
The world mass media kept on saying "Sumgayit, Sumgayit, Sumgayit!" The great physicist Albert Einstein once expressed a deep thought, "It is easier to split an atom than to change a stable stereotype." For so many years, Baku cannot change this stereotype of Sumgayit events. We should admit, though, that Baku makes no special efforts in this direction.
The Armenian side presented Sumgayit events in full accordance with Goebbels.
"Single out subjects for hatred," he taught.
"The more monstrous the lie, the easier it might be to make believe it!"
Sumgayit events are and will be for a long time spoken of by the international community, inflicting enormous damage on the Azerbaijan people. Meanwhile, no one actually remembers now of the monstrous lie mass media spread in the first days of the events, which struck a horrible informational blow on Baku. "Big lie gives time advantage and no one will remember it afterwards," Hiter used to say. The word "Sumgayit" remains on the international stage, terrifying Western citizens.
"To suggest an idea to a considerable number of people, it should be repeated again and again."
More than 90% of all Armenian sites mention Sumgayit events in some or other way.
These three principles formed the model of Sumgayit events.
They sowed their lie all over the world.
The speed of the process increased in geometrical progression. Every Armenian informed several dozens of citizens in the country where he lived, and each of them informed a dozen of others in their turn etc.
We should admit that Sumgayit information action was carried out by the Armenian side with great skill and by means of up-to-date information technology.
According to the former director the CIA R. Hillenkoetter, "80% of intelligence information come from common sources such as books, magazines, scientific and technological reviews, photographs, commercial analysis data, newspapers, radio broadcast, an also general information from persons that have a view of the affairs abroad."
The above-mentioned sources of information are chief and sole for a common, far from intelligence citizen of any country.
Many of these information sources reflected Sumgayit events in some or other way, mainly negative for Baku. Even in such a magazine as "Sovetsky Tsirk" (Soviet Circus), N8, 18 February, 1989, Andrey Sakharov found it possible to speak of Nagorno-Karabakh problems and Sumgayit events. "That's a real circus!" an inexperienced reader might say. And he would be mistaken. Speak everywhere possible and sound as tough as possible; it is the notorious principle of the notorious gentlemen!
And it should be pointed out that considerable means were invested in this propaganda action.
The following example shows how necessary and expensive this action is. According to FAGCI, the USA expenditure on development and acquisition of information struggle means increased four times in the last 15 years and now rank first among all military programmes expenditure.
"There is more powerful weapon than slander, it is truth," said Talleyrand. However, in our age, truth costs money, preferably green.
The author worked for a long time as a scientific consultant in a large foreign engineering company and associated with many marketing, system analysis, oil and gas production, oil and gas pipeline construction and other specialists who had been in Baku at different times. In easy conversations, in different atmosphere, the author would ask as if casually (Monte Carlo method - a casual question amidst a long conversation) how and to what extent those gentlemen were informed of the eviction of Azerbaijanis from Armenia, the events of 20 January, 1990 in Baku, Khodjaly events, Sumgayit events, of the fact that after Sumgayit events raging crowds in Volgograd, Tyumen and even Leningrad had been smashing up the buildings of local party bodies, of the events in Srebnitsa where Serbs killed 2,700 Muslims, of the eviction of Meskhetin Turks from Uzbekistan, as we know, 56 people died in disorders in Ferghana on 6 June, including 43 Turks, 355 Turks and 136 Uzbeks were wounded. 147 Turk houses were burned.
For many years, the author gathered and classified these materials. The results were striking. Over 50% of the respondents knew about Sumgayit events, of course in the negative aspect concerning Baku and not the Centre. Not less than 2% knew about the other above-mentioned events only vaguely.
That was the blow Baku suffered because of Sumgayit events for which it was the last to blame!
On 16 March, 2001 Armenian "Mediamax" reported that the representative of the Union of Armenian Businessmen Ovsep Seferyan, while speaking at the press conference in Yerevan, had not ruled out the possibility of establishing an Armenian-Azerbaijan joint venture plastic production company in Sumgayit…
Ighityan was also engaged in this black PR. During Sumgayit events, he, the USSR people's deputy, called the Azerbaijan people fascists at the congress of the USSR people's deputies. Ten years after Sumgayit events he says to the BBC correspondent, "We should say: let us deal trade. Let us deal tourism. Let us begin to associate! Once I said at a meeting attended by a lot of Caucasians: look, let us make the Caucasus one of the best places on the earth. And we could do that!" Yesterday he called for annihilation of the Azerbaijan people after having seized 20% of its territories and made a million people refugees in their own land, today he just calls for friendship instead of showing repentance!
On the next day after the establishment of such "joint venture plastic production company in Sumgayit" mass media of the world reported that despite the Azerbaijan "atrocities" in Sumgayit, the Armenian side expressed its good will again and agreed to cooperate in that city. The world is reminded again of the Azerbaijan "atrocities", while the Armenian side receives new political dividends for its "nobility". It would be a grand PR action! However, dear gentlemen from Armenia, new time has come!
Only such political pervert as Ighityan can imagine joint tourism when the Armenian side will show the tourists the ancient Azerbajan town of Shusha and speak of it as of Armenian one!
So, what is the total residue of the above-mentioned reasoning?
First and most important, it is the tragedy of innocent people killed in Sumgayit.
Second. The tragic Sumgayit events, for the first time in the USSR, occurred in the territory of Azerbaijan and the local authorities could not resist the powerful external forces that had orchestrated the pogroms. They undoubtedly have their share of blame for the events.
But is Japan alone to blame for the nuclear bombs the Americans dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the first time in mankind history? Even if the Japanese had made every effort, could they have prevented that action of the Americans?
As considerable lapse of time passed, Sumgayit events can be accurately formalized, at least for their qualitative assessment, in the following form: S = F (X, Y, Z), where S characterizes the grievous results of Sumgayit events, X characterizes the participation of different local forces in them, Y characterizes the participation of different perestroika forces, and Z characterizes the participation of different forces furthering the USSR collapse. This model of Sumgayit events built on the basis of content analysis of considerable number of materials devoted to the period of Gorbachev's perestroika is unquestionable today. The question is how to place coefficients before the parameters characterizing different political forces that were active in those years? That requites access to other materials that, in out opinion, are to be found in the future and all coefficients will be placed according to their "contribution" to these events.
Hot on the traces of Sumgayit events, the Soviet and world press discussed only S, the parameter characterizing the grievous results of Sumgayit events, X, the parameter characterizing the participation of different local forces in them; i.e. the entire informational blow fell on Baku.
FINALLY, EVEN IF ALL POWER BODIES IN AZERBAIJAN WORKED LIKE CLOCKWORK, SUCH EVENT WAS TO OCCUR ANYWAY, IF NOT IN SUMGAYIT, THEN IN OTHER PLACE IN AZERBAIJAN, SINCE THE AIM HAD BEEN CHOSEN, AND NOT BY BAKU!
IT IUS UNQUESTIONABLE TODAY THAT SUMGAYIT PROVOCATION THAT HAS DEEP AND DIFFERENT ROOTS WAS PRESENTED BY THE ARMENIAN PROPAGANDA IN THE WHOLE WORLD AS THE DOING OF THE AZERBAIJANI, BOTH ORGANIZERS AND PERFORMERS, AND THEIR ATROCITIES TO THE ARMENIANS. THE CIVILIZATION SIDED WITH THE ARMENIANS, WHILE THE GUILTY WELL-KNOWN FORCES IN THE USSR AND THE ARMENIAN SIDE THAT RECEIVED AN ENORMOUS INFORMATION ADVANTAGE WERE SATISFIED WITH EACH OTHER. THE EVENTS SUITED THEIR INTERESTS AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY (IT IS NO SECRET TODAY), BROUGHT THE WAR CLOSER, WHICH ARMENIA HAD BEEN PREPARING FOR.