Gorbachev's reasons to bring troops in Baku

Gorbachev's perestroika entered the crucial stage; the USSR was breaking down, and Gorbachev ("my fingers are all thumbs," he says to his inner circle) feverishly searches for a way out of the crated situation.

In the beginning of January 1990, at the session of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee M.S. Gorbachev declare, "1990 is a crucial year. If we do not change the situation with supply, we should leave!" By this time Gorbachev took the credit to the amount of 40 billion dollars from the West, having brought the USSR debt to 85 billion dollars, but none of the primary problems was solved; shelves were empty in shops and basic products were rationed.

From the beginning of 1990 and till the end of March in the country, according to the official information, while the figures were actually considerably higher, more than two thousand meetings were held in which more than 7.5 million people took part. And, virtually, at all of these meetings its participants cursed Gorbachev and his perestroika; Gorbachev's political rating was rapidly falling to zero.

On 18 November, 1988 the Supreme Council of the Estonian SSR proclaims sovereignty of the republic. Its example is followed by Lithuania and Latvia. Soon the Balts declare their intention to seek full independence. The same is declared by Moldova, Georgia and Armenia.

On 22 November, 1988 the Armenian parliament was actually dismissed, and Armenia was seized by separate militarized groups.

On 10 January, 1990 "Unity" organisation in Moldova declared the separation of Tiraspol from the Moldavian SSR and its joining Russia.

Unrest began in Central Asia, separatism in Georgia and Moldova started to gain in strength. Republics that were parts of Russia started to demand more independence from the Center.

The empire disintegration becomes real. For edification of other republics, Gorbachev chooses Baku and strikes his blow on it.

After more than ten years after Baku events first, and the author is convinced, not last, accounts of the events by their participants appeared.

Participants of these events reflect on the purposes of the introduction of troops in Baku on 20 January, 1990, the commander of Kirovograd special mission brigade Yuri Voronov and the deputy commander in charge of policy of the special radio communication squad that was a part of Kirovograd brigade in Baku. Voronov says: "PUTIN'S CURRENT ASPIRATION TODAY TO KEEP CHECHNYA AS A PART OF THE FEDERATION IS SOMEWHAT SIMILAR TO THE POSITION OF THE THEN SOVIET ADMINISTRATION (highlighted by the author), though then, fortunately, the situation did not lead to war. And then, having signed the agreement on the Soviet Union disintegration, they simply betrayed us, who had been protecting its integrity..."

"We protected the civilians," repeats Vitaly Tokarev, the deputy commander in charge of policy of the special radio communication squad that was a part of Kirovograd brigade in Baku, "not knowing repeats what to expect next minute. Despite all warnings and threats in our address, we never shot, they were ours, Soviet people, after all... In my personal file, there is a record that I took part in the performance of the combat task on maintenance and restoration of public order in Azerbaijan. But after all, it is not a job for army, it is for law enforcement bodies! AS EARLY AS THEN I REALIZD THAT THIS STATE WAS DOOMED, POLITICIANS NEEDED NEITHER ARMY NOR THE STATE ANY MORE... (highlighted by the author)"

Let us pay attention, neither of them mentions any structures of the People's Front or armed formations but and concentrates on the disorders which really took place and which militia should have been dealing with. And their main conclusion is significant, "As early as then I realized that this state was doomed; politicians needed neither army nor the state any more..."

Alexander Urzhanov writes in 2002, "The Soviet regime is dying but tries to show the past power even in convulsions. Having given freedom to the Warsaw Treaty Organization countries, Moscow is not going to give independence to the Soviet republics. The greatest anxiety is inspired by the unrest in the Baltic republics. GORBACHEV TRIES TO KEEP THE BALTIC COUNTRIES AS PARTS OF A MORE LIBERAL BUT NEVERTHELESS SOVIET FEDERATION. IN THE MIDDLE OF JANUARY THE SOVIET TROOPS BRUTALLY SUPPRESSED MARCHERS IN BAKU (highlighted by the author). No less than a hundred people were killed (and probably much more)".


Armenia is in the front line of destructors of the USSR (according to all serious political analysts), and Gorbachev strikes his blow on … Baku.

David Kalatozishvili writes in Nezavisimaya Gazeta, "In his endeavour of modernization of the state, Gorbachev committed one but the most important error which led to the destruction of the foundation of the Soviet Union. He initiated or at least actively supported the "idea of equalization rights of the Soviet and autonomous republics."

Let us begin with Georgia. There is a firmly established opinion in the Russian public consciousness that the actual disintegration of Georgia was the result of its attempts to withdraw from the Soviet Union. "Georgia got what it deserved with its separatism," such is the verdict of the Russian public.

Let us take another example, Azerbaijan.

If we recall how the events in the geopolitical triangle Moscow - Baku - Yerevan developed, it is impossible not to discover an amazing phenomenon (let us call it GORBACHEV PHENOMENON for convenience - Author). There were no anti-Soviet, anti-Russian actions in Azerbaijan (unlike Georgia). Many politicians and experts remember that Azerbaijan not only agreed to sign the treaty of alliance but had already formed the delegation which intended to go to Moscow to sign this document. And it would have if not for the putsch on 19 August."

Meanwhile, Armenia not only refused flatly to sign the Treaty of alliance but made the decision to hold a referendum on the secession from the USSR.

Isn't it strange to see on which side the sympathies of Moscow were (and remain to be), given the development of events after the USSR collapse?

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." There are no dreams in politics, only pragmatism. And the pragmatism is such that both Gorbachev and afterwards Yeltsin, solving their problems, struck blows on Baku, IRRESPECTIVE OF ITS RELATION TO THE USSR AND, LATER, RUSSIA.

Everyone remembers Vezirov's abasing himself publicly before Gorbachev, trying to please him in everything. All of Gorbachev's orders, overwhelming number of which was harming Azerbaijan, were nevertheless carried out by Vezirov implicitly. Doctoring at elections of people's deputies in Azerbaijan reached monstrous figures solely to please Gorbachev.

A.Mutalibov adhered to the same course as well. 74.9 % of the Azerbaijan voters "took part" in the referendum deciding the fate of the USSR held by Mutalibov in March 1991 (more than in the RSFSR (74%) but less than in Central Asia). The preservation of the Union was supported by 93.3 %, opposed to by 5.8% (in Baku the Union was supported by 85.3). However, Nakhchivan did not participate in the referendum.

Virtually none of Gorbachev's decrees and instructions was carried out in Armenia, including the decree on disarmament of militants.

Nevertheless it did not change Gorbachev's attitude to Azerbaijan for the better in any way. GORBACHEV'S LONG PLANNED BLOW ON BAKU DID NOT DEPEND IN ANY WAY ON OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES. It was "GORBACHEV PHENOMENON".

This "tradition" was continued after Gorbachev by the president of the democratic Russia Yeltsin, having transformed "GORBACHEV PHENOMENON" into "YELTSIN PHENOMENON"... When Yeltsin was threatened by impeachment, president A.Elchibey sent him a telegram of support which, according to the memoirs of his comrades-in-arms, Yeltsin did not even read.

The deadly struggle for power began between Gorbachev and Yeltsin.

As some documents are declassified and the memoirs of politicians of those times are published, it becomes clear that bringing troops in Baku on 20 January, alongside with his chief aim, Gorbachev also pursued his personal interests. There were no resources already to consolidate his power, since the Warsaw alliance was crumbling, the economy of the USSR was rapidly collapsing, the debt of the USSR has increased to the record amount, leaders of the republics were all glancing towards Yeltsin more and more often and openly, army and secret services were going out of hand.

In Radio Liberty programme devoted to the 10th anniversary of the putsch of August 1991, the president of Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev says, "…Spring of 1990. And after that elections are held, and Boris Nikolaevich is elected by three or four voices. He starts to develop this sovereignty, to struggle for independence of Russia. From whom? I cannot understand so far. Here. Everyone says, "Russia will be free and independent!" I see. From the Soviet Centre."

And Yeltsin achieved his aim.

After Yeltsin's speech in the RSFSR Supreme Council the resolution on denunciation of the Treaty of alliance was put to vote, "Following by the Declaration of the RSFSR state sovereignty and in accordance with Clause 109 Item 15 of the Constitution, the Supreme Council resolves to denounce the agreement on formation of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics approved by the first congress of Soviets of the USSR on 30 December, 1922 in the city of Moscow."

The resolution on the secession of Russia from the Union was passed without discussion and even without "stir in the hall". On 12 December, 1991 at 13:28:31 Russia left the USSR in accordance with the law, leaving in it five republics of Central Asia.

Y. Battering and others write, "The working record of the session of Politburo on 7 March, 1990 (i.e. several weeks after the January events in Baku - Author) where, on the insistence of Mikhail Sergeyevich, among others, the issue of presidency was discussed. A.Lukyanov's arguments are of particular interest; he obviously wanted to intimidate everyone with possible consequences of introduction of presidency institute. Unlike Gorbachev, he foresaw the danger of such step to the integrity of the country when leaders of the Soviet republics might demand introduction of presidential post in their republics as well.

These warnings caused irritation in Gorbachev. "Stop, don't try to scare us," he interrupts the speaker, "we should respond at full throttle so that they could feel … They forgot all restraint."

Лукьянов called for discretion, "Why such haste? Why is it necessary to do it now, cannot we just to postpone it?" "We must show them their proper place," Gorbachev points out sharply.

"They forgot all restraint… show them their proper place," Gorbachev meant opposition, and first of all Yeltsin who was already breathing down his neck, and it was necessary to try to leave the pursuers behind, to fix the political space that was tearing apart.

The extraordinary III congress of the USSR People's Deputies was convened on 12 March, 1990 for the realization of this idea. One of Gorbachev's comrades-in-arms, a member of Politburo in charge of ideology issues, V.Medvedev recalls, "We approved the urgent election of President at the congress rather for pragmatical than principled reasons, besides, the constitutional norm provided national elections." That is, he actually admitted that Gorbachev violated the Constitution.

He decided to show his ways of showing one one's proper place in Baku.

The same thought is expressed by Valery Boldin, the head of the administration of the USSR President in August 1991.

"The correspondent asks, 'How did the State Emergency Committee coup arise?'

'If you remember, having returned from Foros, Gorbachev said a significant phrase, 'I am not going to say everything.' he was not lying. All that State Emergency Committee matter began not in August 1991 at all but much earlier. It all began with the tough confrontation of two presidents, Soviet and Russian. Yeltsin had not forgiven Gorbachev for the banishment from Politburo in 1987. Having headed Russia, he started to shatter the Soviet Union actively. Yeltsin realized that Russia had a too heavy load and if it started to reduce budget payments, the subsidized republics like Tajikistan or the Baltic ones just would not survive. And that was the case. Feeling that he was losing his foothold, IN THE BEGINNING OF 1990 GORBACHEV SENT FOR A GROUP OF MEMBERS OF POLITBURO AND THE SECURITY COUNCIL, ALL THOSE WHO JOINED THE STATE EMERGENCY COMMITTEE AFTERWARDS (INCLUDING KRYUCHKOV, YAZOV, BAKLANOV), AND RAISED THE ISSUE ON THE DECLARATION OF STATE OF EMERGENCY (highlighted by the author. Familiar, isn't it?).'

'It was not a slip of the tongue, was it? In the beginning of 1990, not 1991?'

'No, it was not, in the beginning of 1990. All those invited by Gorbachev then supported the idea of state of emergency, especially considering the increase of nationalist, centrifugal trends in the Baltic countries and Transcaucasia. AND WE, GORBACHEV'S ADMINISTRATION, STARTED WORKING OUT THE CONCEPT OF STATE OF EMERGENCY (highlighted by the author). But it was never developed in 1990, mainly because the situation remained stable on the whole, excluding the April events of 1989 in Tbilisi. And in 1991 it was so strained that a match was enough to explode it all. Gorbachev's authority was getting more and more ephemeral; he could do nothing without Russia. Feeling that Gorbachev was losing power, Yeltsin started to act more intensely. During the discussion of the new Treaty of alliance he was virtually giving the law to the republican leaders. And the latter not only considered his words but also followed his pattern in independence. Yeltsin was taking the lead more and more confidently, Gorbachev getting mad with the lack of information. Eventually, Gorbachev understood that Yeltsin's separate negotiations with the republican leaders would result in his complete discharge from power, and stirred up the activity of security agencies on the declaration of state of emergency.'

Gorbachev Mikhail entry in History, biographies of ROL Encyclopaedia gives the same estimate of the political situation of that period:

"However, in internal policy, especially in economy, signs of serious crisis emerged. Foodstuffs and convenience goods deficiency rose. From 1989 there was THE PROCESS OF DISINTEGRATION OF THE SOVIET UNION POLITICAL SYSTEM WAS DEVELOPING AT FULL SPEED. THE ATTEMPTS TO STOP THIS PROCESS BY FORCE (IN TBILISI, BAKU, VILNIUS, RIGA) LED TO THE EXACT REVERSE RESULTS, STRENGTHENING CENTRIFUGAL TRENDS (highlighted by the author). Democratic leaders of Inter-regional deputy group (B.N. Yeltsin, A.D. Saharov etc.) gathered mass meetings in their support. In the first half of 1990 virtually all Soviet republics declared their state sovereignty (the RSFSR on 12 June, 1990)."

As we can see, problems had already been grave by the beginning of 1990, and they were growing in a geometrical progression. Gorbachev decided to show muscle and to carry out a local experiment on the declaration of state of emergency.

Gorbachev decided to try out his plans, including personal ones, in Baku, which quite complied with his attitude to the Azerbaijani, and he could operate in unison with the Armenian diaspora in the West, a part of his plan as well.

It is not impossible that Gorbachev's action in Baku on 20 January, 1990, as well as his entire pro-Armenian stand on Nagorno-Karabakh, was in some or other form paid by the Armenian lobby abroad.

Recent publications demonstrate that the Armenian mafia was Gorbachev's chief assistant in the underground realization of the Soviet gold. During the existence of the USSR this information was classified. These relations of Gorbachev's undoubtedly had important part to play in his attitude to the Karabakh events. Alexander Mosyakin writes, "Gorbachev's perestroika that marked epoch-making revolutionary changes was announced in 1986. But it had dumbfounded the world one year earlier when the Soviet Union had unexpectedly taken out 297 tons of gold, nearly crumbling the world precious metals market. To understand the shock suffered by business circles, it is necessary to know, that in the pre-Gorbachev 1984 the USSR exported only 10.1 tons of gold, and had been taking it out in dozens tons for the previous twenty-two years, in accordance with the market condition and the quotas discussed with the business community. Frightened Western bankers PERSUADED MIKHAIL GORBACHEV AND AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVES OF THE KREMLIN THROUGH МАРГАРЕТ THATCHER NOT TO SPRING SUCH SURPRISES ANY MORE (highlighted by the author), and in the following two years the export of the Soviet gold was back to normal. But then it started to increase again, and suspicious firms trading precious metals and gemstones began to appear simultaneously in different countries, strings from which led to Moscow. One of them got spotted in America. The former CIA agent Richard Palmer says, "There was "gold case of 1988" in the USA. In that case two Armenians figured who had founded a firm dealing with gold and diamonds. This firm employed about hundred Russian masters on diamonds polishing, and its management had established good contacts with POLITICIANS (highlighted by the author) in California and police. They had bought considerable amount of real estate and opened many bank accounts." It was Golden ADA, the firm we know today for the diamond swindle of the century; then it was headed, without Andrey Kozlenok, Shaghiryan brothers who had arrived from the Soviet Armenia. And it was delivered them the goods the State depository for precious metals and gemstones of the USSR (GoKhran)."

Such firms were also opened in France, Canada, Argentina and other countries, and everywhere close contacts with politicians and police were established.

A message appeared in the Russian press that Shaghuryan brothers repeatedly had informal meetings with the Gorbachevs. It appeared in the newspapers dependent on Yeltsin. It is well-known that participants of such large-scale action become "brothers" willy-nilly.

Clearly, these "goldsmiths" needed devastating meetings and more sumgayits; it was much easier for them to solve their problems in such conditions than in a stable society.

It is relevant to point out here that unfortunately in Putin's period Armenian businessmen again are involved in similar dubious operations, now with Russian diamonds, and as follows from the Russian press, there are already dubious dealings related to diamonds.

Gorbachev did not disdain such dealings even at meetings at high state level.

V.I. Boldin recalls, "But, probably, Gorbachev had heard nothing about word of honour because metamorphoses suddenly began: at first, Gorbachev's "incidental" meeting with Roh Tae-woo in San Francisco, and then and visit to a South Korean island where a new friend had been waiting for him. On returning to Moscow, Gorbachev sent for me and with satisfaction took out a tight sealed envelope of his briefcase, in which, he assured, there was a hundred thousand dollars (or maybe more! - Author).

'It is from Roh Tae-woo,' he said without an explanation. 'Think how to spend it.'

Even today, it seems improbable to me that the leader of South Korea with which Soviet Union was just establishing relations, could give a hundred thousand dollars to the president of a superpower at the second meeting.

All these, mildly speaking, oddities inspired rather disturbing thoughts. The point is not even in assumptions. The ambiguities in gift affairs became known to a growing range of people. Letters with questions were received. Whose means are used to build summer residences for the president, where do the gifts received by the couple go, and what do we give to others? In brief, rumours about gifts, currency of the general secretary-president, his foreign and home bank accounts, fees, summer residences, apartments were discussed widely enough and did not help M.S. Gorbachev's authority, and therefore his party comrades. All delicate questions in the incoming mail were attributed willy-nilly to our international affairs. Why did the USSR somehow quickly and not fairly disarm, withdraw troops from the countries of the former Warsaw Treaty, not caring about our property, other interests of the country?

R. Gorbacheva also made her contribution, having received a gift, a diamond ring, from the Armenian community in the USA at the height of the Armenian-Azerbaijan confrontation. "We should promote the friendship between the Soviet and the Armenian peoples (?! - Author) in every possible way," she said on the Central TV. These words were cut out in the evening repeated broadcast.

A collage was published in German Stern magazine: a beam from the diamond ring on Raisa Gorbacheva's finger falls on Nagorno-Karabakh in the map of Azerbaijan. A perfect realization, both in for and meaning!

We should mention another channel of decomposition of the higher functionaries of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Soviet government. In the days of perestroika when their wives, children and close relatives became constant visitors abroad, they, in many cases, became visitors, and sometimes even partners in the Armenian lobby business. It is sufficient to remember, for instance, what Russian mass media wrote about shuttle flights of Bajbakov's wife to Paris and realization of the brought goods, by her own recognition, or about numerous family trips of Academician G. Arbatov, the long-standing director of Institute of the USA and Canada, a member of the Central Committee of the CPSU, to the USA where he was received by the Armenian diaspora of whose hospitality he speaks with admiration. It is relevant to note that Russian mass media repeatedly pointed out that the CIA "worked" most successfully with graduates of this institute.

We could expand this list considerably.

The USSR still existed when children of the high-ranking figures of the party and the government entered prestigious Western colleges where education was far from free.

In many of these hardly Communist affairs it was possible to discover the Armenian trace.

It is necessary to admit that they calculated the future situation correctly in this case, too.

According to Russian mass media, similar problems also began and in the KGB in those years.

George Podlesskikh and Andrey Tereshonok write, "In the very same middle of the eighties years the KGB entered a period of deep crisis. Cases of betrayal on the part of foreign intelligence officers and their escape abroad became more frequent. More than two dozens of similar cases had occurred since 1979. The KGB did not avoid corruption virus either. More than ten ranking officers had been convicted of bribery and are sent in imprisonment places since 1981."

"In the mid-eighties," Kalashnikov writes, "adherents of the theory of reforms at the expense of cutting off other lands from Russia teemed in the Kremlin like rats on an old barge. There were especially many of them in the KGB the highest ranks…

Certainly, not the entire all KGB such was but only that part of it which had business abroad under the cover of foreign trade and banking establishments of the USSR. Big party daddies were moving their sonnies to that part of the "invisible front", fat, vicious, grown in contempt for everything that was Russian. These future heroes of reforms associated with other sonnies scattered in foreign trade offices. These took video recorders as bribes, considered Marlboro and supermarkets as height of perfection."

Kasparov had a small team of the Azerbaijan KGB officers which he actually maintained; all of them received second salary from him. The team left Baku after the well-known events but some of them stayed to serve Kasparov, for example, Colonel Litvinov who was called "Fencer" for secrecy.

And, all that was going on in the KGB of the USSR, could not but affect the political situation in the country in perestroika period and, which was important for Baku, by no means furthered the stabilization of the situation in НКАО.

During a conversation with Lithuanian deputies Gorbachev solemnly declared, "Let Lithuania be the first to try independence, its secession from the USSR will cost it more than 30 billion dollars." Gorbachev did not specify the method of this payment.

In connection with the above-stated there is a lawful question. Can we completely rule out the possibility that Gorbachev's action in Baku was paid by the well-known forces?

Time will reveal this secret as well.

The statement that the troops had been brought in Baku for protection of Armenians was also a lie. And, which is characteristic, this lie was spread by Gorbachev and his environment. Direct performers of this action (Yazov, Varennikov, Achalov, Lebed, Bobkov and others) made emphasis on the restoration of the Soviet power in Azerbaijan.

"For one thing, it is necessary to ascertain the most regrettable thing. The troops entered the city when there had already been no Armenians in it. The living had left, the dead had been buried in the ground. There was nobody to protect …" Stanislav Govorukhin writes.

We should say that the Armenians mainly denies the fact that the Soviet Army was brought in Baku to ensure safety of Armenians. They consider it as an ordinary event related to the collapse of the USSR. The statement of candidate of historical sciences Vardan Ovanesyan is characteristic in this respect. In his article "Why Was Baku Shot on 20 January, 1990", Vardan Ovanesyan writes, "Coming back to a rhetorical question, why Baku was shot on 20 January, 1990, it is possible to answer. Baku was shot because, as it was already mentioned above, the historical process of breakdown of the Soviet empire was under way, and in the course of this process both Vilnius and Tbilisi, both Dushanbe and Baku were shot."

"It was only on the seventh day when not a single Armenian remained in the city, that Soviet tanks rushed in Baku. But, as the Minister of Defence Marshal of the Soviet Union D. Yazov said, the troops had entered Baku to save not Armenians but the Soviet power. And they save it in a Soviet way. Victims of this "salvation" became hundreds of Bakuvians most of which had not taken part in the slaughter (?! - Author). And the true perpetrators of the genocide remained unpunished again," Benjamin Arustamyan writes.

Distracting from common words of Armenian propaganda, "genocide", "slaughter" etc., we see from the statements above that all of them agree that troops were brought in Baku not for protection of Armenians.

Oil version was expressed by I.L. Bunich in his Chronicle of the Chechen Slaughter-house and Six Says in Budennovsk. If we survey all losses of Moscow after the collapse of the Soviet Union, then it is undoubtedly necessary to recognize the loss of control over Azerbaijan oil as the most painful one. It was as the more so annoying as the entire high-capacity petrochemical complex in Azerbaijan had been raised from zero, created and developed by Russia with rather modest participation of the local population, which, among other things, was educated in oil colleges at the expense of Moscow (It is a lie. On the contrary, Azerbaijan Institute of Petrochemistry was a real smithy of oil industry workers of the country, and specialist of the international Baku developed new oil-extracting regions in the USSR. - Author). So, when the Soviet Army was taking Baku by storm in 1990, its nervous behaviour expressed in uncontrolled shooting on everything that moved clearly indicated the anxiety of Moscow about its main wealth on the base of which all Moscow leaders from Stalin to Antropov hoped to reach the Communist future. The dying CPSU was trying convulsively to keep its infinite riches with weakening hands (and brains), and as a result, it lost the control over the situation practically everywhere, including, naturally, Azerbaijan."

Certainly, Bunich's oil version has the right of existence, but the main reason of the introduction of troops was different. The main thing in what Bunich said was different; he does not even mention the version about protection of Armenians. We should say here about Gorbachev's unhealthy interest in "Tenghiz" oil deposit which was crushed in the bud by Nazarbayev.

The Baku scenario of January 1990 written by Gorbachev and realized by his toadies was repeated by B. Yeltsin in October 1994 in Moscow; the difference was that there were armed people among the defenders of the White House, while Baku had only peaceful citizens whose unique weapon was their own lives! But Yeltsin did not yield to Gorbachev in cruelty towards his own people and adopted much from events on 20 January, 1990 in Baku.

In our opinion, it is high time we carried out a joint action in memory of Gorbachev's victims in Baku and Yeltsin's victims in Moscow.


The authors Essays on Political History. Yeltsin's Epoch write, "Meanwhile, the situation in the country after II congress grew more and more complicated. There was an ethnic war in Karabakh. January 1990 yielded a new bloody flash of pogroms, this time in Baku. The answer was the introduction of troops in the capital of Azerbaijan accompanied with victims among the civilian population. The elections in republican parliaments put new serious problems before the Center, the time to pay for inactivity came. Deputies of the Lithuanian Seim proclaimed state sovereignty, the Soviet government launched the economic blockade of Lithuania in response, hoping to strangle republic in the gripe of energy shortage. The world socialist commonwealth was collapsing. Velvet revolutions occurred in the countries of Eastern Europe, Communist regimes fell one after another."

"The process started" but not in the way Gorbachev planned it to, "the process started" to go from one to another!

The blow on Baku was beneficial to many forces that appeared on the political stage when Gorbachev's perestroika began.

Conservative forces which made the majority were in the Central Committee of the CPSU, the Soviet Army, KGB of the USSR, etc. They believed that a blow on Baku would further the preservation of the USSR, as all republics would see who was the boss. They saw the only way to preserve the USSR in the settlement of the problem by force.

From their point of view, Baku was a perfect target for a bloody blow, the confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the half-life period of the USSR was the most strained one, and a blow on the initiator of the events, the Christian Armenia was excluded in view of the tough stand of the USA.

The first vice-president of the State Security Committee of the USSR Philipp Denisovich Bobkov, who was held in solid respect and indisputable authority in the KGB bodies and troops, was one of typical representatives of conservatives. In those years he repeatedly arrived in Baku, was one of the commanders of the introduction of troops in Baku and carried out implicitly all orders of the Center. His responsibility is equal to that of Primakov, Bakatin, Yazov etc. for the bloodshed in Baku on 20 January, 1990. But many of those who met him on official business in those days in Baku noticed unanimously that he had always been concentrated and some bewilderment had emanated from him concerning the events and the position of the Center. This feeling was not due to his great love for Baku, we can assume that he realized clearly that these events and the policy of the Center led to the collapse of the USSR. And the memoirs he wrote afterwards confirm these assumptions, since much can be read between the lines there.

The following reasoning of F.D. Bobkov's clarifies much in his stand, "Theory of exceptionality of the Armenian nation was inspired to the population of the republic from small age. For example, there was such a question in the textbook for 7-8 forms for secondary school. Which state capitals have Armenian schools in them? And further it was said that there is no such school in the capital of the USSR while there are such in some foreign countries. In that textbook, only Zhora Arutyunyan was named of all the members of "The Young Guard" that struggled against Hitlerites in the days of the occupation. Other names, even the leaders', were not mentioned. When outstanding Soviet musicians, artists, art workers and sciences were concerned, only Armenian surnames were named, as a rule. Naturally, as a result, Dashnak propaganda fell on fertile ground."

Gorbachev, Primakov, Bakatin, Yazov and many others did not say such words about the Armenians either then or later. On the contrary, trying to justify themselves, they continued to reason negatively about Azerbaijan and never said a word of condemnation against the Armenians.

One should not doubt that Bobkov was from the cohort of the security officers devoted to the USSR. A Great Patriotic War veteran, to which he went as a 17-year-old volunteer, having added himself an extra year, he was awarded numerous military awards. He has three wound-stripes. It is just two words about him.

His actions in Baku on 20 January, 1990 stained the pages of his faultless Soviet biography with disgrace.

Y.K. Ligachev, the party leader of conservatives, took a similar stand. On 21 May, he spoke at plenary session of the Azerbaijan Communist Party Central Committee and declared about the inefficiency of revision of national-territorial borders of Nagorno-Karabakh, since he realized clearly what was going on. Understanding the point perfectly well, he nevertheless supported all power actions against Baku.

The forces opposing conservatives which and which had serious enough positions in the structures listed above, considered (and we should ascertain regretfully their calculation was more correct than that of conservatives) that blow on Baku would furthered the USSR collapse, in which they were interested. In the course of the disintegration, these forces seized predominating economic positions in the newly-formed structures, not disdaining to appropriate state objects and means, including those kept on foreign bank accounts. Their interests often coincided with those of the Armenian lobby abroad. Functionaries of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the KGB agents from this cohort were widely informed on the activity of the Armenian lobby and cooperated with them successfully in many countries, for example, in the USA and France. Much is known today about the cooperation of the KGB with the Armenian organization ASALA.

It is clear today that these forces that appeared on the political stage all of a sudden made a certain contribution to Karabakh separatism.

"Gorbachev's nestlings" of perestroika entered the international stage!

"Kerensky's nestlings" would have paled before them even taking into account time correction. Europe shuddered at the invasion of these "nestlings", and Gorbachev's political team willy-nilly created all conditions for their turning into predatory half-mafia economic hawks. As Alexander Mosyakin writes, the Soviet leaders began establish numerous contacts with business and financial circles of the West, and pushy Moscow emissaries began to travel about the world. As a result, in a short period of time they founded dozens of joint-stock companies and joint ventures with mixed capital and a host of subsidiaries working in spheres of insurance, banking, sea transport, leasing, trading operations and transactions with real estate in Austria, England, Belgium, Italy, Canada, France, Germany, the USA, Uruguay, Switzerland, Ecuador, Japan, Cyprus, Philippines, islands of the Caribbean Sea and in other places.

Outwardly, their operations were legitimate.

But the scale of the phenomenon did not correspond at all to the official level of exchange between the Soviet Union and the capitalist world, and the Soviet mass media never said a word about it. This "fever" with a criminal musty smell caused interest of special services.

The CIA, the Swiss, French, English special services and Interpol began keeping track of the situation. The CIA and British MI-5 established that the rapid growth of the joint ventures created by the Soviet representatives for trade and other activity abroad had begun in spring 1990, simultaneously with M.Gorbachev's election as the president of the Soviet Union. They also established that almost all heads of created firms were the KGB officers.

These forces perceived any destabilization process in the USSR with great satisfaction, since they could easily solve their own issues in a problem situation.

In the reckless support of the Armenian party, democratic forces went so far, that if Moscow had dropped a nuclear bomb on Baku also they would have welcomed it with delight.

"Unfortunately, democracy is not the choice of the best but the choice of the likes," very precisely write Victoria Rabotnova and Boris Vishnevsky.

Democrats of the first wave insulted the Azerbaijan people in chorus, so unanimously that we would just like to ask them, "Have you ever had mothers, gentlemen?"

All these "democrats" rushed to the West like Henry IV to Canossa. It is just Henry IV did it to take Paris ("Paris is worth the Mass!"), while those for different grants!

None of those people of the sixties that had come out into Red Square in 1968 to protest against tanks in Prague, condemned the tanks in Baku, since they sensitively reacted to the stand of the USA and the West!

The USA and the West were behind them then, in the distant 1989, but the USA and the West did not condemn the introduction of troops in Baku in 1990, which was a secret order for them! Besides, many of those dissidents had certain relations with the 5th Department of the KGB!

The journalist Valery Jalagonia, who was popular in Azerbaijan in the fifties and sixties, writes, "Returning to the reality, I can testify that the introduction of troops in Prague caused shock in the republic. This shock was probably prophetic. Azerbaijan had to get acquainted with the practical realization of "limited sovereignty" thesis by its own experience in the "Black January" of 1990 when tanks sent by the Centre entered Baku. And blood was shed…"

Neither Prague nor Budapest or Berlin, which had suffered introduction of troops from the fraternal country in their time, simply did not notice the introduction of troops in Baku.

Amazing, double standard again! States whose citizens had been crushed by Soviet tanks did not notice the same tanks crushing other people! Whether it were different tanks or different people!

The Soviet republics took a very artful and pragmatic immoral stand; they pretended that this action was aimed at the protection of the Armenians and that it had nothing to do with them.

In other words, in their opinion it was not a political but police action. They were watching coolly the bloodshed in Baku.

It was especially painful to observe such reaction on the part of Muslim republics. "If you have such friends, you need no enemies," the ancients said.

In his exclusive interview to Zerkalo, the first vice-president of the Foreign Affairs Commission of VIII Seim of the Latvian Republic Leopolds Ozolinsh says, "I must say that Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijan people made great contribution both to the process of "perestroika" and to the process of destruction of pernicious ideology which had been ruining both national culture and national values including those of Azerbaijan. When people rose with protests against the Communist regime in Baku, Ganja, Lenkoran and when you WERE CRUSHED BY TANKS (on 20 January, 1990. - Zerkalo) and you were actually among the first to rise, I think, the disintegration of the great imperialist system that had been oppressing all peoples including the Azerbaijan people began.

I express my deep respect to the valour and courage of this people, to the understanding of the fact that democracy is basically personal belief of every one. And my sympathy, huge sympathy for the victims of the events of 20 January."

This recognition, though post factum, is worth much. But with all due respect for Mr. Leopolds Ozolinsh, it is necessary to say that the Balts, who had been keeping track of the political situation in the country, knew the point of Gorbachev's January action in Baku even then, but closely associated with the West and supporting the Armenian party, they preferred to keep silent.

This action was like manna from heaven for the Armenian separatists.

They realized well that Gorbachev had given them a sign that they had carte blanche.

The USA supported this action silently and even hinted at its possibility.

The American senators supported this action for the simple reason that many of them did not know properly what kind of country Azerbaijan was and where it was. All information on the events in this region was presented by pro-Armenian senators and was taken on trust immediately. And the situation has not changed seriously in this sense so far.

This action was also supported by the US president Bush Sr., the son of the USA secret services. The CIA had long developed the models of the USSR collapse, but they lacked actual material to put it in these models and view the result.

There was another reason as well.

"Zero-sum game" was the main formula of cold war, as the president of "Politics" fund V. Nikonov writes. Where the USSR and the socialist world sustained losses, the USA and the capitalist world got profit. And on the contrary. There was a bipolar geopolitical competition of two superpowers in every corner of the earth. Any American success was a Soviet defeat, any Soviet victory an American failure.

And the intrusion of the Soviet troops into Baku was the loss of the USSR; unlike Gorbachev's semiliterate experts, the CIA made accurate forecasts of the future.

In his book Diary of the Aide of the USSR President, A.S. Chernyayev writes, "At 4.00 sharp (he could not go anywhere) the conversation began. And M.S. (Gorbachev - Author) started "hailing" George in his usual "benevolent and open-hearted manner... ("Dear" and so forth). The latter complimented him for everything he had done in the relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia (the State Council resolution) and proceeded to Ukraine."

As it became clear after certain period of time, the CIA had had its own view of the Karabakh events, which had naturally influenced the USA policy in this region and, certainly, on the events in Baku on 20 January, 1990.

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

The introduction of troops in Baku, judging by the above-mentioned, complied with the CIA model.

Zbignev Brzezinski, the chief specialist on the USSR that had considerable influence on the USA leader did not take Azerbaijan blood into account either.

Brzezinski does not include the blood of innocent civilians shed in the street of Baku in the system of his conclusions!

The USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs represented by the USSR minister of foreign affairs E. Shevardnadze was well aware of the planned blow on Baku and of the response of the West to it.

Michael R. Beshloss and Strobe Talbott write in their book At the Highest Level, "In July of the last year BAKER TOLD SHEVARDNADZE (highlighted by the author) that the United States would show understanding if Gorbachev had to use the Soviet Army to thwart "useless bloodshed and ethnic discord." From Gorbachev's point of view, the situation in Baku came within the scope of this definition…"

"The same week George and Barbara Bush arranged a dinner in the White House for a narrow circle of guests in honour of Susan Eisenhower, the granddaughter of the thirty-fourth president of the USA, and Roald Sagdeyev, an outstanding Soviet scientist in the sphere of space exploration, who were to marry in Moscow soon.

The ambassador Yuri Dubinin (this "charming liar", according to Z. Brzezinski, with his wife Lyana Dubinina, maiden name Khachatryan - Author) was among the invited guests.

In the course of the reception, Bush was explaining to Dubinin that he "fully" supported Gorbachev's necessary actions in Baku, since sometimes the leader has to use force to defend rights of ethnic minorities and preserve peace.

On his way back, the satisfied Dubinin said to Eisenhower and Sagdeyev, "Isn't it great that the president supports us?"

We should not forget that Shevardnadze had excellent relations with the Armenian diaspora in the USA and France. We cannot know the whole truth but it is hardly believable that Gorbachev did not consult Shevardnadze before that bloody introduction of troops in Baku, first of all concerning the US reaction to that.

The enlightened Europe also understood Gorbachev's actions in Baku on 20 January but no word of protest from any major European statesman concerning these actions followed.

Gorbachev was well aware that Christian factor was gaining in strength in Europe. His conversation on the subject with the German chancellor H. Kohl, one of the authors of this idea, did not pass unnoticed by him.

Bringing troops in Baku, he played up to those forces, and there were some reasons for him to repeat provocative words tirelessly, "We will not allow establishing Islamic fundamentalism in Azerbaijan." However, he had different reasons of the introduction of troops in Baku to voice to the Soviet press.

It is well-known that Gorbachev as a rule preferred not to reveal his stand completely in critical situations (during the events in Tbilisi, Vilnius, State Emergency Committee). During the State Emergency Committee putsch he acted like Charles Talleyrand.

While the 1830 revolutions going on and the tricolour raised over Notre Dame, Charles Talleyrand said, "We are triumphing!" He was asked, "Who are we?" "Quiet! Not a word. I will tell you tomorrow," was his reply.

In his book Fantasies on the Given Subject, A. Karaulov writes, "After the November 1991 putsch, Gorbachev suddenly sent for Shaposhnikov.

'Everything is tumbling down… everything! Yevgeny Ivanovich, you see, the Union is crumbling. Maybe the military, I think, somehow… little by little… could they take it all under control, huh? And then…'

…to Lefortovo at once,' Shaposhnikov prompted.

'Why… they would just step side…'"

An updated Talleyrand's model!

Had Shaposhnikov tried to realize this and failed, Gorbachev would have been the first to demand trial for Shaposhnikov and considerably consolidated his power in case of success.


The blow on Baku on 20 January, 1990 was the last thoroughly planned large-scale blow of the Empire. After it Hitler's dream came true, the USSR became a "colossus with feet of clay", THE SYSTEM OF STATE MANAGEMENT STARTED CRUMBLING.

The bloody intrusion into Baku was planned as a rehearsal but proved to be the last chord of the USSR collapse.

State Emergency Committee failed to strike the last blow on the Empire as was planned; there was no strength left, since the last cartridge was shot in Baku. Anatoly Lukyanov, the chairman of the USSR Supreme Council in 1991, deputy of State Duma, says, "As for tanks in the streets, WE KNOW FROM BAKU EXPERIENCE THAT A BIG CITY CAN BE TAKEN BY ARMED FORCES NO LESS THAN TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND IN NUMBER (highlighted by the author). Just one division and light tanks was brought in Moscow to defend government and other important objects. No one was going to attack the White House; that was also established by court. The three killed were victims of road traffic accidents, since tanks were already leaving the city at that time.

Vladimir Medvedev, a highly-qualified specialist, says concerning the State Emergency Committee, "No one was blocking the Kremlin, Manezh Square. The television was quietly reporting about Yeltsin's speeches and marches of protest. What was it? Disorderliness of the putschists? Well, not to such extent.

There were several hours. When defence was being organized in the White House, there was disorder there, and the organizers could be easily (and without spilling much blood) taken red-handed. Even later, when the legendary barricades were built, it was easy to crush them like toys. No helicopters were needed, which was discussed so widely. Special mission squads would have broken up the square and "Alfa" would have poured into the passages. Everything would have been over in half an hour, I know those guys from "Alfa", they are ours, from the KGB."

Vladimir Yefimovich Semichastny, the former chairman of the USSR State Security Committee, says, "Perhaps, in due course we will find out that Mikhail Sergeyevich was at the head the State Emergency Committee. I will not be surprised, about something is written about it or the then environment makes confessions in the memoirs several years later..." And they are writing now!

Lukyanov called President's isolation in Foros "self-isolation".

He is echoed by Gennady Burbulis, who was not close to the Soviet president, "I do not believe that Gorbachev could not contact the right people. Sometimes I think that he needed that isolation himself. So to say, to declare state of emergency with the hands of the State Emergency Committee without leaving traces. And most likely, he equally did not want the putsch and pushed the matters towards it."

We can call all that happened then whatever we like, political buffoonery, inebriate orgy of dull-witted people, large-scale political PR action, a political soap opera, game of putsch etc., but by no means a well-thought political action.

The State Emergency Committee was an operetta putsch. Actually, at that time the USSR already was a "colossus with feet of clay" as Hitler called it in the thirties. As the further events demonstrated, he was mistaken then.

The failed putsch which was one of the numerous but the most public episodes of the struggle for the power between Gorbachev and Yeltsin; Yeltsin's team presented as a historical event, as the herald of the victory of democracy in the post-Soviet territory, having reduced events of 20 January, 1990 in Baku to a common police action.

To be able to speak about people that had heroically died in the putsch, they declared three citizens lost in a road accident Heroes of Russia. It is known that it was Primakov who suggested making them Heroes of the Soviet Union. At the same time, Primakov called those who stood out in front of tanks of the Empire in Baku militants.


At the meeting in Moscow devoted to the victory over the State Emergency Committee, during a live television broadcast on all central channels the national flag of Azerbaijan brought by democrats from Azerbaijan fluttering on the most visible place was shown. There was no national flag of Azerbaijan in the evening repeated broadcast. It disappeared. For ever.

Certainly, alongside with other factors, the Great Russian and Christian factors were important here; it was difficult for Russian politicians to admit the fact that it was the Azerbaijan people who in the contemporary history followed to the appeal of the unknown Moscow engineer. That engineer said when fascists were near Moscow, "In order to begin the advance, someone should be the first to stand out…" The Azerbaijan people was the first to stand out when the Empire went into its last, crucial attack, and no one will ever be able to erase this truth from history.

After the events of 20 January, 1990 in Baku, it became clear that the Soviet Army would not carry out large-scale military operations against citizens of the country any more, and it is confirmed by numerous memoirs of military commanders of that time. THE EMPIRE WAS DOOMED WITHOUT THIS SUPPORT!

The insane actions of a small group of bandits in Vilnius and the operetta putsch of the State Emergency Committee confirmed it, too.

In this connection, we can often hear that the Empire dealt its last blows on Vilnius and Riga. But it not true. Certainly, the victims of the events in Vilnius and Riga, as well as those of 20 January, 1990 in Baku, gave their lives for freedom of the republics, and monuments should be put up to all of them. But whereas the chief executives of the USSR administration were involved in the events in Baku and the operation was supervised by the USSR minister of defence, the USSR minister of the internal affairs, the first deputy head of the KGB, elite units of the Soviet Army and the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs, advanced weapons (for example, Mi-8military helicopters) were used, just one regiment was involved in the events in Tbilisi and Vilnius, and the Riga OMON was used in Riga, its head was tried subsequently by the new authorities of Riga.

Numerous publications show that these actions, as well as in Baku, were carried out with inhuman brutality, but they were not a result of a strategically planned action but rather spontaneous actions. As it was found out, decisions were most likely made by the commanders on spot. It is quite possible that cannot be compared to that of Baku events of 20 January, 1990. The author remembers well Gorbachev's contorted face when correspondents pestered with questions on the events in Vilnius. Perhaps, it was that rare case when the insincere Gorbachev was sincere when he answered that these events had occurred behind his back. These events did not suit Gorbachev at all for he definitely understood that they would not be supported by the West, and the relation of the West to it was for it the main thing. It is quite probable that Vilnius events were initiated by certain forces, and there was plenty of such, to weaken Gorbachev's position.

Gorbachev did his best to dissociate himself from Tbilisi events as well. After the events in the capital of Georgia the first secretary of the Communist Party of Georgia D.I. Patiashvili arrived in Moscow and sought a meeting with M.S. Gorbachev with whom he had good relations. He stubbornly sat in the reception room of the general secretary for two days, expecting conversation, but Gorbachev avoided meeting with him. Patiashvili was told to wait for a call in the hotel. As a result, Gorbachev never received Patiashvili, and the latter came back in Tbilisi.

He was proud to recognize his authorship of the events of 20 January, 1990 in Baku alone.

Gorbachev openly divided the people of the USSR into civilized ones and others (to which he certainly related the Azerbaijan people), which affected its actions in a way. At the congress of the USSR People's Deputies, speaking on the aspiration of the Baltic countries to withdraw from of the USSR, he said from the rostrum, "You are not going anywhere. YOU ARE A CIVILIZED PEOPLE, NOT LIKE OTHERS (highlighted by the author). Your conscience will not allow you to do it."

If someone had any ambiguities concerning the introduction of troops in Baku on 20 January, 1990, after a considerable period of time any reasonable politician building models of the past events, with extensive material on those events available, should have no doubts left. Gorbachev's intentions were and are extremely clear. However, none of democrats of the first wave, with a very rare exception, who attributed Gorbachev's bloody action to the protection of Armenians, speaks loudly and publicly about the true reason of the introduction of troops in Baku. It as demonstrates unequivocally that these people were not and are not democrats, for whom truth is above all, but rather indecent businessmen in politics for whom democratic slogans were the means of self-affirmation and enrichment.