In general, in the whole of the USSR, once Stalinist terror was reduced and in the absence of effective democratic control from below – the republics were essentially ruled by “national mafias”, centred within Communist parties and state apparatuses, whose power extended throughout society.35 The tensures of the mafia Communist leaders were marked by extraordinary longevity. Corruption and favouritism characterised not only normal Transcaucasian political and economic practices but also the Uzbek, Tajik, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Turkmen ones. The situation was similar in the Soviet west. The longevity of the national leaderships led to the consolidation of local elites, who placated the local populations with moderate concession to nationalist feelings and a high degree of economic permissiveness. That the party leaders were the heads of “national mafias” was later proved by the special group of the procurator’s office under Telman Gdlyan, but Gorbachov’s apparatus did everything to close the “Uzbek case”, though the name of Sharaf Rashidov had already become synonymous with corruption. In each republic the “national mafia” had its characteristic features. In Azerbaijan a so-called “feudal socialism” was formed, the system of which excluded the Autonomous Region of Karabakh. The Baku leaders and other functionaries despised the Karabakh first secretaries and other officials. The Baku Armenians (350 thousand in reality) were unable to change the attitude due to their secondary positions. The capital investments were far below the national average in the region (Nakhichevan was twice as well of with investments), because Baku could gain no profits from the investments in the region, while the Aghdam region investments enabled them to receive the “lion’s share” of the profit. Of the surplus earned by the region of Karabakh, less than half was returned to the regional budget.

The hard-line attitude towards Karabakh of the stagnation period again caused the Armenians to complain to Moscow, but with no results. However, it was surprising, that in the November 23, 1977 session of the Presidium of the USSR Council of Ministers, while discussing the new constitution (the Brezhnevian), the Karabakh problem came to the fore. Letters and suggestions from Armenia, Georgia (Javakhk), Karabakh and Nakhichevan were consulted. This is an extract from the registration of the session;

“Due to a number of historical circumstances, the Autonomous Region of Nagorny Karabakh was artificially attached to Azerbaijan decades ago. The historical past of the region, its ethnical, characteristics, economical constitution and the will of the population have not been considered. Several decades passed but the question of Karabakh has not been solved yet, arousing the anxiety and indignation of the two brother nations. To correct the situation, the Autonomous Region of Nagorny Karabakh (Artsakh in Armenian) must be attached to the Armenian SSR.”36

This registration could have no further effect as such questions in the USSR were being solved in highest echelons of power, where the Armenians had no access. The above mentioned discussion was just a piece of bone throne to the people.

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