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

Taking the village Drmbon in February the Armenian forces were able to advance to the Sarsang hydropower station and the surrounding villages. The liberation of which would enable to supply the whole region with electricity. In the Askeran front the Armenians liberated the village Kramort. It was completely ruined. The Moscow resident Angelika Chetina, had stayed in that village for several months. Though she was not a reporter, she later described objectively what he had seen within those months;

“January 30, 1992. The villagers of Parukh told us that the Azerbaijanis were to attack. I left for the mountains accompanied by Arevik. The self-defence units left the village too. From the cliffs I saw the village in flames. I counted 24 Azerbaijani personnel carriers and 15 tanks. They were followed with 10 trucks and 30 automobiles full of looters.

February 1. The OMON was leaving the village. The grain store and the houses in Kramort were still burning. We could see Aghdam from our positions.

February 2. We returned to Kramort at Sam. The streets were full of pigs and cows, slain by the Azerbaijanis, surrounded with ruins. I came across the bodies of elderly couple, tortured by the OMON. Seing the open belly of the old man I fell unconscious. Some minutes later shots were heard. The Azerbaijanis had again arrived for pillage.

Vardan and Saiat Arzumanians were 80 years old. Both of them lay on the threshold of the house. The bullet-holes were seen on their forehead. Their ears had been cut off as for each pair of ears Azerbaijanis were rewarded. The 90-year old S. Grigorian was sel alight in her own house. The 75-year old G. Arakelian was decapitated. A nail was struck on A. Khachatrian’s forehead. The hands and feet of another woman were broken. She was Arevik’s mother. And this picture was the face of national enmity and war.”

In April 1993 the self-defence forces of Karabakhlaunched attacks in the direction of Kelbajar. The operation was led by the legendary Monte Melkonian, the commander-in-chief of the Martuni front. The enterance to Kelbajar was a narrow gorge, blocked up by the Azerbaijani troops.

The Kelbajar region supplied nearly the whole of Azerbaijan with mutton. The meadows lying in the Tartarr river valley attracted the Kurds in the 18th century. But during the war it had turned to a huge military base of Azerbaijan. The main road to Azerbaijan, as the route through Martakert was blocked up, was through the Omar mountains, which too was being blocked up in winter. With great difficulty, the Armenians managed to penetrate into the gorge. The prominent medieval religious complex of Dadivank was situated there. The monastery was founded in the first century AD. It was connected with the name of Apostol Taddeus. The Armenian codifier of laws Mkhitar Gosh wrote his books in the Dadivank monastery.

The carvings on the mountains there were enough to prove the Armenian origin of the region. Till the 12th century the Armenian district of the region was called Vaikunk and was a forming part of Artsakh principality. This fact was confirmed by the father of Armenian historiography M. Khorenatsi, as well as the historian of Armenian Albania – M. Kaghankatvatsi who testified that the Prince Aranshahikid Atrnerseh built the Handakert fortress there in the second half of the 9th century. Some parts of the fortress have preserved up to now. He also founded the settlement Vaikunk, where the royal baths were situated (the present Istisu resort). After the Zakarian princes came to power in the 12th century, the region was called Tsar. After the establishment of Soviet Power, the District was separated from Karabakhas an administrative unit within the “Red Kurdistan” autonomous region. Though the local powers did everything possible to destroy the traces of Armenian civilization in the region, still a lot of medieval monuments were preserved, among them churches, cross-stones, tombstones with Armenian inscriptions.6

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