CHAPTER 25 THE KARABAKH-AZERBAIJAN CONFRONTATION AND THE PROPAGANDA OF UNIFICATION OF THE “TWO AZERBEIJANS”

After the seizure of Shushi and Lachin by the Armenians of Karabagh, a comparatively peaceful atmosphere reigned in the region. The Azerbaijanis were trying to overcome the psychological shock and prepare for a new attack. The power was centralized in the hands of the Popular Front as Yaghub Mamedov, who replaced Mutalibov since April 14, had already resigned. The leaders of the Popular Front were conscious that they were short of time to activize the army. so they set to restoring their relationship with the Russian military command and tried to drag the Russian units deployed in Azerbaijan in the war against Karabagh. The human rights activist Elenna Bonner wrote the following in the newspaper “Megapolis-Express” about the army;

“An extradory situation is created, when the military command, which conducted the violent war in Afghanistan, now has occupied the chief positions in the Russian Defence Ministry (including the post of the Minister) as well as in the army of the Commonwealth of Independent States. During the August coup, of course not on the first days, but on August 20, 21 most of them sided with Yeltsin, trying to win his trust. But they could not overcome the complex of inferiority of an officer defeated in the major battle. The policy of such military command, is contrary to the resolution of establishing CIS peaceful forces and not numerous professional army, and clearly displays opposite strivings. This policy was set in motion still in the Gorbachev era, when he appointed V. Polianichko as Second Secretary of Azerbaijani Communist Party. (Before that he represented the Politburo in Afghanistan and got the name “hangman of Afghan people” there). It was Polianichko, who with the support of Azerbaijani Interior troops and “Afghan” generals undertook and realized the deportation of the native population. Military experts were being hastily trained for the Azerbaijani Army in Central Asian military camps (in Piriuza-Turkmenistan in the Pamphilov division, in Tashkent Tank School in Uzbekistan and in the Bishkek military base in Kirgizstan). Though after the coup, the adherent of the “putch” Polianichko disappeared from Baku, the political directives of the army, thanks to the Vice President Rutskoi (an “Afghan” general too), remained the same. After the conclusion of the agreement of supporting the former republics with arms, Azerbaijan immediately received its share, as well as the great part of the Caspian fleet. Great was the role of the commander-in chief of the fleet, the deputy to the USSR Communist Party Conference from Lenkoran (Azerbaijan) Admiral Cherniavin in this affair. A great amount of military aircraft and technics passed to Azerbaijan while Armenia hadn’t recieved anything yet.The flood of “roubles” into Azerbaijan enabled to hire mercenaries. Besides Russia had sold considerable amount of arms and ammunition to Turkey, which could hardly satisfy the Turks armed with the modern NATO military technics and which again found their way back to Azerbaijan. For the time being Azerbaijan is demolishing the population of Karabakhthrough shelling”.

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