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

The Centre and the Baku authorities hoped to break the resistence of Armenians of Karabakh through strict measures. But even after so many pogroms and persecutions, the Karabakh Armenians considered secession from Azerbaijan to be the only way to solve their problem. Azerbaijan vigorously opposed to this. A complete deadlock was reached.

According to a TASS report on the way Lachin-Shushi a car was stopped and two machine-guns, two kilograms of drugs and 350 thousand roubles were found in it. Two days later the mayer declared that only two machine-guns were found in the Azerbaijani car.

Once again the Azerbaijani authorities in Baku viewed the Soviet Union’s conservative organs of repression – i.e. the KGB, the Interior Ministry and the army – as their natural allies against the Armenians who were striving to overturn Stalin’s settlement of Karabakh question. The headmaster of the local stadium R. Petrossian, the worker R. Mangassarian, the assistant editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Soviet Karabakh” A. Ghukassian (for his article “Open your eyes”, and his speech about the murder of the sculptor A. Hakobian on the TV), the head of the regional roads’ building company R. Aghajanian, the head of the “Farming Chemicles” company R. Ghazarian, cooperator A. Grigorian and many other activists were arrested. For several times during the spring the troops used force to put down demonstrations by Armenians who claimed they were unarmed. Military checkpoints were set up on all the roads leading to Stepanakert and travel within the region was under military control.

On the protext of conducting a “passport regime” and arms check the Azerbaijani Special Function Militia Troops (OMON), accompanied by Soviet Army troops, appeared in the Armenian villages, firing, breaking up windows, terrorizing the population and arresting many Armenian men.

The Popular Front of Azerbaijan continued to conduct an anti-Armenian policy all over the USSR, in the Central Asian Republics in particular, calling to drive the Armenians, “which caused all their misfortunes”, out of their republics. The propaganda had a considerable success in Turkmenia and Tajikistan. The pro-Turkish circles used the chance to act. During the February 12-14 rallies of Dushambe the Armenians were threatened to and forced to leave the republic. A few days later the Secretary of Dushambe City Soviet D. Karimov addressed a letter to the Yerevan City Soviet. The letter read;

“It is extremely deplorable for us, the communists and the residents of Dushambe, that more than a thousand Armenians and their families left the capital of Tajikistan, as a result of the February 12-14 tragic events, instigated by the extremists”.

Reassuring that the situation was normalized, D. Karimov called the Armenians to return to their homes. Another appeal was addressed to the Armenian nation, signed by the prominent Tajik writers, scientists, artists;

“Our Armenian brothers, our dear Armenian nation, blood is thicker than water! We have the same fate. We, the representatives of Tajik literature and science, are as tounded at the events which took place in our city, aiming at darkening our age-long, supreme friendship. How it happened? Who did it? Our great ancestor, the Superior King Darch had mentioned in his cuneiform inscriptions the name of his great Armenian friend Dadarshish with great love. The rich Tajik literature has so far written about Armenians only with love and sympathy. Our historical, philosophical and literary monuments contain not even a negative sentence, able to pierce your hearts. All the Tajik poets and writers have referred to the Turks as nomadic, cruel and uncultural people, but have always regarded the Armenians as civilized, honest and highly moral nation.

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