CHAPTER 22 INFORMATIONAL TERROR

For several months the Russian publicist Andrei Nuikin was the target of bitter criticism of the Azerbaijani propagandists. His three articles; “Where Have You Been, a Russian Intellectual?”9 (Nezavisimaia Gazeta), “Everything Originated from Karabakh” (“Nezavisimaia Gazeta”) and “What is Karabakh Silent About? (“Megapolis Express”) caused an “anti-Nuikin” motion. The Azerbaijani intellectuals referred to their “standard” method. A letter of complaint was addressed to the USSR Procurator General in the name of M. Rostovskaya. A copy of that letter was sent to the “Azerinform” news agency. The “author” demanded to bring a charge against the chairman of the “Karabakh Committee of the Russian Intellectuals”, publicist and writer A. Nuikin for violating Article 130 of the Code of Laws of Russian Federation (for slander and insults in a published form) and Article 7 of the Civil Rights Code of the Russian Federation (for hurting the dignity and honour).10, as his activity and articles “aroused the indignation of the Azerbaijani people”. The auther considered Nuikin to “cover the situation from a Yerevan position”11 and ended the letter declaring that during the year of 1915, it were the Armenians who massacred the Turks. Its doubtess that the letter was written by an Azerbaijani “expert”, aiming at discrediting the talented Russian writer through propagandist terror, but A. Nuikin wasn’t easily scared. He sent an explanation to the USSR Procurator General N.S. Trubin, met with the officials of the Procurator’s Department, each time providing his statesments with a firm grounding. He organized a visit to Karabakh accompanied by Yeltsin and Nazarbaiev’s group, and then on September 23 took part in Zheleznovodsk talks, mediated by Russia and Kazakhstan. His “Karabakh Diary” was published in the newspaper “Izvestia”.

“They were looking forward to Yeltsin’s arrival, eagerly, hopefully, as if he would be their savior, a messenger from god. He was expected to appear on their tortured land, take it under his high rule and nobody would be able to do hard to the peaceful and kind people.

According to some newspapers during this visit of the President nothing happened in Stepanakert except several violences and beatings towards the journalists. It is true that a cameraman was taken hostage by an Armenian family to exchange with the body of their son, which lay unburied for seven days as the family couldn’t afford paying 20 thousand roubles for it. Not the atmosphere of violence ruled over Karabakh before Yeltsins arrival, but an atmosphere of thundering happiness, a holiday mood, a kind of which to Moscovites had had the pleasure to enjoy during the three days of the coup. Spiritual unanimity, devoted unity, quick mass response – if a journalist is unable to feel this atmosphere, he has better change his profession…”

But the above mentioned hopeful atmosphere of positive solution of the problem quickly dispersed. Unfortunately the Zheleznovodsk agreement didn’t recognize Karabakh as a party to the conflict (in fact it was Karabakh fighting against Azerbaijan and not Armenia). Karabakh didn’t take part in the negotiations and so refused to sighn the agreement, not to be obliged to accept and follow the provisions. In fact there were several points unacceptable to them. They couldn’t agree to the “withdrawl of all the armed formations from the conflict zone” as it was Baku to distinguish between the “legal” and “illegal” formations. In case Karabakh agreed to that classification. Azerbaijan had enough territory to transport its forces to another place, while Karabakh, being situated in the conflict zone, would have to do away with all its self-defence units, remaining unprotected against new violences, or relying on the Union troops, which had enabled the OMON to rape, loot, torture the Armenians not once. The negotiations seemed beneficial to Azerbaijan to gain time for the final formation of the armed forces of Azerbaijan. The process of dissolution of the USSR affected adversely control over and discipline within its armed forces. Heavy artillery, rocket-propelled grenades, rocket launchers, tanks, armed personnel carriers, and the like, property of the Soviet Army, were either sold to, loaned to, or otherwise found their way into the hands of Azerbaijani militants.

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