CHAPTER 21 DEPORTATION

According to the reports of the Human rights Committee of the Russian Federation, the pattern of Getashen and Martunashen was repeated against the population of the Armenian villages, deported during a week of May. The villagers, like in Getashen and Martunashen at first received an ultimatum to leave their houses within three days, then the attacks on the villages began in the guise of weapon searches and checks of passports. Arbitrary arrests, lootings and burnings followed. Families were forced to sign statements that they were leaving of their own accord. 120 menfolk from Berdadzor were taken to Lachin on May 15, where they were kept in police look-ups or prisons and beaten and made fun of on routine basis.12

In many villages the inhabitants put up several weeks of resistence and were essensially cut off from supplies from the outside. The Armenian compatriots attempted helicopter airlifts to the besieged villages to bring in supplies and take out the wounded.

The Human Rights Committee of the Russian Federation (S. Kovaliov as chairman) testified that the residents of the village Karmrakar (Hadrut region) were deported on May 13, of Jilan (Saralanj) – on May 15, of Tsamdzor, Tsor, Mulkudara – on May 14-15, of Arakiul, Banadzor, Karaglukh, Dolanlar, Petrosashen, Spitakashen, Arpagiadak (Karing) – on May 16, of the villages of Berdadzor region – on May 18. The refugees of the village Khndzoresk lived in tents. The Czech journalists testified that those people suffered innumerable privations.13

The whole campaign resulted in the arrest and detention of hundreds of Armenian men, the deportation of thousands of Armenians, and the emptying of between twenty-two and twenty-four Armenian villages. The campaign to deport Armenians from the villages of Karabakh and from Khanlar and Shahumian districts was carried out under the Centre’s orders. The USSR Interior Ministry troops and the Army activity supported the Azerbaijani OMON.14

The testimony of the Helsinki Watch (Adivision of Human Rights Watch) and other organizations, including Amnesty International, Pax Christ, Netherlands and the Sakharov foundation about the conduct of operation “Ring”, points to the responsibility of the 23rd division, the USSR MVD troops, and the Azerbaijani OMON troops for gross violations of common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and the United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials.15

The Human Rights Committee of the Russian Federation considered that the authorities of the Special Administration Region should be charged with the deportation of the Armenian twenty-two villages, accompanied with mass violations of human rights. The attempts of the Special Administration Region officials to fix on the leaders of Azerbaijan the responsibility for the deportation of the Armenians, were groundless.

“Free Press” agency, October 10, 1991;

“Yesterday, on Friday May 10 at 21.30 p.m. an unsuccessful attempt on the Chairman of the Karabakh Constituent Committee V. Polianichko was made. The latter was in his office when the shell fell into his room through the window and struck onto the opposite wall, without bursting. The enemy of the Karabakh people V. Polianichko didn’t suffer.”

Probably V. Polianichko, V. Safonov and others were only secondary functionaries, who could be soon replaced by others if needed. In this connection the appeal of the USSR deputy, a supporter of military reforms, Colonel V. Smirnov to the USSR Army and Interior Ministry Soldiers is of great interest.

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