CHAPTER 20 NATIONAL REVIVAL. THE COLLAPSE OF THE USSR THE EMERGENCE OF THE FIFTEEN INDEPENDENT REPUBLICS

The “stone war” soon gave birth to a number of new syndroms, which escalated the struggle for control over Nagorny Karabakh Autonomous Region still further. The new “Karabakh syndrom” countered the “Azerbaijani aggressive syndrom”. It was no less fierce and violent than the Azerbaijani one. Both parties to the tragic conflict vilated the most basic rules of international humanitarian law, involving themselves in the armed conflict with extreme ferocity.

The Karabakh Armenians pursued their claim persistently. The privations of 70 years had made them unbreakable.

To Gorbachov’s question what the Karabakh Armenians were like, A. Volski answered they were the same Armenians, but “different in a way”. The representative of the President meant the strength of will of the Karabakh Armenians that overcame all obstacles.

As to the Azerbaijanis, their intellectuals made a good use of the Karabakh claim to awaken the sense of self-awareness in the Azerbaijani nation. Azerbaijan was in strong position in regard to Armenian Mountainous Karabakh, which, though isolated, was increasingly determined not to submit to the Baku authorities after the pogroms of Baku and persecutions, unification with Armenia was seen, more than ever, to be the only solution, to the Karabakh problem. But it was a solution that Azerbaijan was less ready than ever to accept.

Though enduring severe restrictions and hardships, the Karabakh Armenians countered the Azerbaijani attacks, setting up a strong resistence against the Azerbaijani forces in the fight for the Armenian villages of Manashid and Getashen regions. The armed conflict was rapidly escalating. The level of violence in Nagorny Karabakh and surrounding districts increased steadily, Armenian and Azerbaijani residents engaged in communal violence so easily as due to lack of discipline within the armed forces of the USSR, the property of the army; the heavy artillery, grenades, rocket launchers, tanks, armed personnel carriers and the like were either sold to, loaned to, or otherwise found their way into the hands of combatants on both sides, making the armed conflict more lethal. It was easier for the Azerbaijani side to obtain the weapons because all the stores of The Transcaucasian Military district were situated on the territory of Azerbaijan SSR. As to financial problems, the Azerbaijaniz did not suffer any, and paid great amounts for the arms. After withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan and the European Socialist States, the military industrial complex had to deal with the problem of selling the military equipment. The production of arms came to halt, as a result of which many metal urgical plants had to be closed, the miners became unemployed. The country faced a severe economical distruction. In this situation the Karabakh conflict was beneficial for the generals of the Soviet military-industrial complex. They were secretly instructed to allow the sales of army equipment in the region. They knew very well that Azerbaijan would apply to Turkey for financial support to buy arms, Armenians – to the influentian diaspora. The deal would breathe life into the immobile structures of the military-industrial complex of Russia, millions of people would be employed again. But Karabakh was not enough for them. Arms fired and bombs exploded in Ossetia and Abkhasia, forming a new source of profit for Russia.

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