We, the inhabitants of the two Armenian villages Getashen and Martunashen, plead for mercy. Please, save us. The Soviet Army is annihilating the Soviet citizens. We are fired from the ground and air, machine-gunned and cannoned. The tanks crush the manned obstacles, children women and old people are taken as hostages by the Azerbaijani OMON. Our houses are looted and burnt down. We can’t resist the army with hunting guns. People of the world, please save us!”

April 30, 19918

Leaflets were spread in the villages with the following contents;

“To the inhabitants of the villages Chaikend (this was the Azerbaijanized name of Getashen) and Martunashen of the Khanlar Region of Azerbaijan;

The Executive of the Khanlar regional Soviet, considering the numerous applications of the villagers to leave for other places for permanent residence, guarantees;

1.the legal sale of private houses within three days.

2.the security of the population leaving the villages through the territory of Azerbaijan

Chairman of Khanlar Regional Executive Committee N. Mamedov”

Another leaflet read;

“Considering the will of the villagers of Chaikend and Martunashen, the authorities of Special administrative region guarantee;

1.the security of the inhabitants of Chaikend and Martunashen, till they sell their houses (till July 1, 1991)

2.the security of the leaving population passing through territory of Azerbaijan SSR.

3.the above mentioned points are to be carried out with the consent of the USSR and Azerbaijani Ministeries of Interior.

Deputy Minister of Azerbaijani Ministry of Interior R. Mamedov

Deputy Commander of the USSR Interior Ministry’s Division, Colonel Y. Mishin

The operation “Ring” was remarkable for its ferocity. The “black berets” killed 20 villagers, some of them were axed, others-scalped. More than one hundred people suffered severe injuries.9

The Armenians of the two villages tried to defend themselves as they could. According to reports, Armenians sometimes took as hostages Azerbaijani OMON and Soviet MVD troops. Among them were fourteen Soviet Army servicemen under the command of Leautenant Fiodorov (taken by the Martunashen school (teacher T. Krpeyan) and Colonel Mashkov with his Azerbaijani companion. They were to be exchanged with fifty Getashen residents. The Armenians managed to receive only 27 of them.

Families who were deported were forced to sign statements that they were leaving of their own accord. V. hovhannissian, S. Hakobian, V. Khachatrian and G. Grigorian were arrested.10 old people, women and children were taken to Stepanakert by helicopters, while menfolk, about 700 people, were forced to sign the document of leaving of their own accord, and then sent to the Armenian bordertown Ijevan by bus.

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