CHAPTER 23 THE PROCLAMATION OF THE NAGORNO- KARABAGH REPUBLIC AS A GUARANTY FOR SELF-DEFENCE

The fierce internal struggle between parties had already penetrated into Karabakh from Armenia. It became especially noticeable in the course of elections of deputies to the Supreme Soviet of Karabakh. The struggle was fierce between the All-National Armenian Movement and the Dashnak Party. Finally the Dashnaks won a majority. This political split effected negatively on the formation of the armed forces and on the self-defence of the region on the whole. There was another obstacle, originated from the split. For example the soldiers of the Shahumian self-defence units refused to fight in the Hadrut front, considering it politically “not theirs”. The penetrating of political ideas into the army was a serious threat for the self-defence of the region.

As a result of September 21 referendum, Armenia quit the USSR and became independent officially.

Such a referendum was to be held in Azerbaijan on December 28. On November 4 the gas pipe Ghazakh-Yerevan was blocked up. The November 13 issue of the newspaper “Bakinski Rabochi” announced that the “Armenian bandits were to be blamed for the damage of the pipe line.”5

This was another example of propagandist terror undertaken by the leaders of Azerbaijan. On the same day, in an interview to the newspaper “Komsomolskaya Pravda”,6 the representative of Azerinform declared that the gas was not Russian but Iranian and Central Asian, so the official of “Gasard” enterprise G. Chernetski wasn’t authorised to condemn Azerbaijan for closing the “Russian gas.”7

Probably this was the way Azerbaijan was trying to tell the world of its independence.

The Armenian side expressed the view that the closure of the pipe line was intended to drag Armenia into the war, as Armenian atomic power station had been thoughtlessly closed down, and the country was left without electricity. Thus Armenia was to face a winter without gas and electricity. Probably the results of the act were thoroughly worked out by those people who considered the December 7, 1988 disaster as a holiday.

As a result of the autumn referendum Karabakh declared independence from Azerbaijan. Arrangements gave every citizen a chance to vote. The Azerbaijanis boycotted the vote, but the overwhelming majority of Armenians (over 90%) voted in favour of independence. With this mandate, the leaders went ahead with a General Election for a Parliament, which included a proportional representation of seats for the Azerbaijani population. Again the latters boycotted, but the rest of the seats were filled and the Parliament was opened in January 1992.

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