CHAPTER 17 THE GORBACHOV REFORMS AND THE REVOLT OF KARABAKH

During a speech in the Lenin Square the 65-year old Nina Baghdasarian, pointing at Lenin’s monument said. “Look, Demichev and Razumovski reject your notions. They are in a few metres distance, but don’t want to listen to you”. Addressing to the demonstrators Vasili Mikhailov said, “The 26 Baku Commissars did not ask the nationality of people. Why do we ask now, who are you?, with whom are you?, we are the sons of a common Motherland. For that Motherland we have sacrified 20 million lives from Ararat to Moscow, even the North Pole has seen the blood of its defenders. In this historic era of perestroika, the enemies of our revolution will take advantage of our discordance and… Gorbachov has said, “Yes, we know the history of the Armenian nation, but all the nations are equal for us, we love all of them in the same way”. Believe me, the Central Committee can’t solve this problem otherwise…”

Beating over the bush for a whole hour, Razumovski too added nothing to what was said. Even if eager to add something, he would be unable to do that, as the Central Committee didn’t understand what was taking place in reality. The members of it of course accepted the real truth, individually but the Party machine on the whole had its own programme of work. The programme was still not being changed by anybody daring enough to undertake that mission. The London “Independent” wrote, “There are two ways to be chosen by Gorbachov:

1. to tighten the screws strengthening the power of 140 million ethnic Russians over multinational states with the nearly same number of population.

2. to accept the logic of his own policy, which means adding up to the transfer of power from Moscow to the regional authorities and not vice versa. Otherwise Gorbachov’s empire will be dismantled”.

On February 26 the Lenin Square of Stepanakert was again full of peoples. The residents of neighbouring regions and villages arrived in great numbers. Reaching the posts of the patrolling militia they went round and entered the city through the forests, carrying with them supplies of food and wood for the population of the town.

In the evening of February 26 the people were waiting for Gorbachov’s appeal to the populations of Armenia and Azerbaijan on the television. Before the historic speech, the people were shown the famous Soviet film “1905, Bloody Sunday”, horrifying the people by mass scenes of bloodshed. The text of Gorbachov’s appeal was read by Razumovski from Baku. The people in Lenin Square, numbering 50 thousand were petrified with expectaition. Gorbachov said nothing essential. “I call on you to express political maturity and return to normal life and work and maintain law and order.

“It’s the time to be sober-minded and keep your balance”. The last words of Razumovski were followed by a thundering shout, “Strike! Strike!”.

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