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

The vigilantes of Meghrian’s group had taken positions not far from the Giulistan village in the mountains, from where they launched sudden attacks on Azerbaijani militia or the army units who had already established in the Armenian villages. Most of the members of the Dashnak Party were inclined that the settlements of Martakert and Shahumian were given to the enemy with the aim of weakening the positions of their party, which were especially strong in the above regions. In the same way the Azerbaijani parties blamed each other for the defeats in Malibeilu, Khojali, Giulaplu, Shushi and Lachin. This policy resulted in a coup in Azerbaijan. Mutalibov lost his power and the post of President. On May 14 the Supreme Council adopted a resolution according to which Mutalibov’s quitance was considered unlawful, but it didn’t have any effect and Mutalibov had to flee. The Popular Front came to power. The June 7 presidential elections resulted in the victory of the Popular Front chairman Abulfaz Elchibei. The Popular Front seized the total power in the Republic.

If the advance of the Azerbaijani army in the direction of Askeran was successfully hindered by the Karabakhself-defence units, then in the Martakert front the psychological defeat was still in process. On July 4 with the assistance of the Russian units the Azerbaijanis took the Martakert city and the village Aghabekalinj. The city of Martakert had a history of two thousand years. Its name was connected with the Armenian King Tigranes the Great. He had founded the fort of Tigranakert not far from it. The same day the Azerbaijanis, attacking from Kelbajar occupied the village Haterk, located on the left bank of the river Tartarr. The village used to be the resistence of the Armenian princes in the medieval period. The most fertile lands of Karabakhwere occupied by the Azerbaijanis. The fine centres of wine production of Karabakhwere in their hands. The next day the Armenian forces managed to seize back the villages Nakhichevanik and Prjamal. In early August they took positions on the hills stretching from Mataghis to Martakert, guarding the whole valley. They were preparing for the seizure of Martakert. But the Azerbaijanis succeeded in surrounding them. The Armenians suffered serious losses. The Armenians left village after village. The Sargand hydro-electrical station was left too. The Azerbaijanis advanced till the village Chldran. The seizure of it would enable them to launch an attack on Stepanakert.

It was exactly at this time when the State Defence Committee was established in Stepanakert. Robert Kocharian headed it. Serge Sargsian was appointed the chief commander of the armed forces and Samvel Babayan – the chief of the headquarters.

It’s interesting to note that the Karabakharmy was led by non-professionals, who had passed through the Karabakhstruggle of four years. The State Defence Committee had to unite all the forces, to resist the numerically superior Azerbaijani army. Meanwhile the Russian units were ordered to leave Karabagh. The 366 division had left still in March. The Karabakhforces obtained the greatest part of its military technics. The Azerbaijani army was deprived of the Russian support.

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