Processes in and around Sumqayit, situation in the USSR, in particular, in the NKAA
In the early 1980s, the Soviet Union was going through a difficult period, which was marked by failures in foreign policy, deteriorating standing in the international arena, difficulties in the national economy and crisis of leadership. Communist Party Central Committee General Secretary L.I. Brezhnev was the leader of the country, and his death in 1982 resulted in a hard power struggle among different groupings within the Party Central Committee Politburo.
After Brezhnev's death, in quick succession at the helm of the USSR were from November 1983 Yuriy Andropov (his tenure as the general secretary was 16 months) and from February 1984 Konstantin Chernenko (one year and several days). Both were severely ill and passed away. In the opinion of the majority of political analysts and historians, Andropov and Chernenko were transitional figures who were selected after Brezhnev's death for the period of power struggle among the groupings in the Politburo. After Chernenko's death, Mikhail Gorbachev took the post of the general secretary in March 1985, and his candidature temporarily was temporarily found satisfactory and reconciled different groupings of officials in the Kremlin.
Gorbachev's activities in the post of the Communist Party leader and head of state are best remembered for a large-scale attempt to reform the USSR -- the Perestroika -- which ended with a collapse of the communist system in the world and dissolution of the Soviet Union, and for the end of the Cold War. The public opinion about Gorbachev's role in these events is most remarkably polarized, but almost everyone concurs that precisely Gorbachev's very unskilled ethnic policy eventually brought about unprecedented domestic political cataclysms which resulted in the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Gorbachev started with a personnel reshuffle and dismissed from important posts in the Kremlin the officials who disagreed with his method of reforming the USSR and the foreign policy of the region. Gorbachev's relations with Heydar Aliyev, member of the Party Central Committee Politburo and the first deputy chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers who was considered one of the most talented Soviet leaders in the top echelon of power, were also uneasy.
In 1987, Aliyev was removed from the Central Committee Politburo. The official theory was that he retired on account of poor health. However, the main reason was Mikhail Gorbachev's envy for Aliyev. The point is that back in the early 1980s, the Western press wrote a lot about Heydar Aliyev and named precisely him as the most likely successor of then-USSR leader Konstantin Chernenko. The energetic personality, hard work of Heydar Aliyev and universal respect for him in the Politburo worried Gorbachev, and he could not rest until he achieved Aliyev's dismissal from all the posts he occupied. At the Politburo meeting on 11 March 1985, where the issue of election of the new general secretary was discussed, Aliyev voted for Mikhail Gorbachev's candidature. But when Gorbachev came to power, Heydar Aliyev fell into disfavor.
It has to noted that, together with dismissals of the most experienced Soviet leaders, Gorbachev's ethnic policy, especially in the issues of relations among a number of Soviet republics, was no lesser blow to the USSR.
Ethnic conflicts and addressing problems using armed force
That Gorbachev was too lenient toward Armenia, its leadership and ethnic Armenian communities abroad from the very outset was proven by the meeting of the Soviet Communist Party Central Committee Politburo, chaired by Gorbachev who was not yet elected general secretary but already chaired Politburo meetings.
On Gorbachev's initiative, the issue of "measures to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Armenian genocide" was entered on the agenda for the top Soviet leadership to examine, which was perceived by many of the participants in the meeting with ambivalence. The point is that the issue of "genocide" of Armenians was raised in the 1960s by the USA and a number of the Western European countries. From the very outset, the USSR adopted a cautious attitude toward that campaign and gave it to understand on numerous occasions that raising the issue of unsubstantiated "genocide" of Armenians was a political game which was launched by the "capitalist West." However, the meeting under Gorbachev's chairmanship in February 1985 turned the established views on the issue upside down.
Speaking to the Politburo, Gorbachev, acting as a mouthpiece for promotion of the interest of the ethnic Armenian communities abroad, noted that "24 April 1985 will mark the 70th anniversary of the genocide of Armenians which was organized by the ruling circles of the Turkey under sultans." Then he said that "The US House of Representatives passed a resolution to declare 24 April the Day of inhuman attitude toward people and genocide of Armenians. The ruling circles in France and a number of other countries are taking steps in the same direction..."
"In view of this, the Armenian Communist Party Central Committee proposed to pass a decree by the Armenian Presidium of the Armenian SSR Supreme Council to declare 24 April the Day of commemoration of the victims of genocide and to organize an appearance of the first secretary of the Armenian Communist Party on radio and TV, as well as publication of the text of his broadcast speech in the republic's press," -- Gorbachev voiced the initiative. Naturally, he was "staunchly supported" by Karen Demirchyan, first secretary of the Armenian Communist Party Central Committee.
However, this initiative by Gorbachev and Demirchyan encountered disagreement by the majority of the Party Central Committee Politburo members, especially the oldest and most experienced members like V.I. Grishin, V.V. Gromyko and M.S. Tikhonov, who justly accused the leadership of the Armenian SSR of attempts to aggravate the Soviet-Turkish relations and promoting US interests by raising this issue. As a result, the "test run" by Gorbachev, which was apparently commissioned by the Armenian side, did not enlist much support. But despite this, Gorbachev persuaded the Politburo to pass the decision to carry out in April 1985 at the union and republic levels the "traditional public events, based on the proposals by the Armenian Communist Party Central Committee and taking into account the exchange of opinions at the Central Committee Politburo meeting."
Gorbachev was apparently "oblivious" that Armenian nationalist terrorism was a staunch opponent of the Soviet system. Just the series of explosions which were carried out by Armenian terrorists in January 1977 would suffice to prove this. A group of Armenian terrorists, headed by Stepan Zatikyan, blew up explosive devices on 8 January 1977 in Moscow: In a metro system (the Pervomayskaya station), Bauman district shop No 15, and on the 25 Oktyabrya street. The terrorist acts killed seven (according to other reports, 29) people, and 37 were wounded. Thanks to the fact that the Soviet secret services were able to detain the terrorists, Zatikyan's plan to carry out a series of explosions on the eve of the 7 November (October Revolution Day) celebrations in the same year of 1977 was thwarted.
The inability of the Gorbachev team which came to the Kremlin power in 1985 to find a common language with the republics of the union was demonstrated by the unjustified replacement of a number of leaders, which resulted in growing public displeasure locally. As a result, disorders took place in 1986 in Kazakhstan, the situation in the Transcaucasus grew tenser, and the unjustifiably bloody deployment of the Soviet troops in Tbilisi, Georgia in April 1989 took place. Then the situation aggravated in Transdniester Region in Moldova, ethnic clashes took place in Novyy Uzen, Kazakhstan, a conflict broke out in the Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan, bloody deployment of the Soviet troops in Baku, Azerbaijan, was carried out in January 1990, unrest broke out in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, troops were deployed in Riga, Latvia, and Vilnius, Lithuania. However, the most tragic and bloody conflict on the territory of the former USSR was the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.
There are many other facts which prove that the steps which Gorbachev took on the issue of the Karabakh problem which started smoldering again were made in the pro-Armenian direction from the very outset. When Gorbachev came to power, the appetites of the ideologues of the Armenian nationalist separatism started to whet not even by the day, but by the hour. It was no accident that, precisely after the removal of Heydar Aliyev from the important posts in the Kremlin in 1987, Armenia's claims on the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Area (NKAA) gained a new impetus and acquired a different nature against the backdrop of the Perestroika-induced innovations in the USSR.
Precisely Gorbachev and his entourage gave the green light to stir up separatist sentiments among the Armenian nationalists. In the fall of 1987, a delegation Armenians from the NKAA arrived in Moscow to meet with the Party Central Committee leaders. They arrived to petition for "miatsum" -- incorporation of Nagorno-Karabakh into Armenia. If in the past, these types of attempts by Armenians were firmly curbed by the Soviet leadership, this time around one of the Party Central Committee secretaries promised total support to the Karabakh Armenians and told them to "stand firm."
And during the visit of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to the USA in December 1987, his wife Raisa Gorbacheva met with representatives of the Dashnaktsutyun organization, and the ethnic Armenian community presented her jewelry and valuable gifts. Dashnaktsutyun is an organization with a wide network of affiliates wherever ethnic Armenian communities live, which was banned in the USSR as nationalist and terrorist. However, after the Gorbachevs received Dashnaks, the Soviet press published a report: The Dashnaktsutyun party will have a central office, a newspaper and an information center in Armenia for the first time since the anti-Soviet revolt in 1921. It was an open signal for the Armenian nationalists, terrorists and ethnic communities abroad. This signal was understood by everyone except the Azerbaijani SSR leadership of the period, which kept relying on Gorbachev and his entourage.
After the meeting in the USA, a number of foreign Armenian terrorist groups adopted the slogan: "Lenin, Party, Gorbachev!" In view of this, the opinion of researchers D. Furman and S. Asenius on Armenian nationalism of the period of dissolution of the USSR is of interest: "If the nationalist mindset with its trend toward self-delusion and operating with mythologemes considered regaining control of the Turkish Armenia as a distant and hardly achievable goal, gaining Nagorno-Karabakh with Moscow's help seemed quite realistic."
The point is that as early as in 1985, at its 23rd Congress in Athens, the Dashnaktsutyun party set as its top-priority goal "creating a united and independent Armenia" and achieving this goal by occupying the Azerbaijani territory in the NKAA and Naxcivan Autonomous Republic and the Georgian region of Javakheti.
As always, the Armenian Church, nationalistically inclined strata of the intelligentsia and the foreign ethnic Armenian communities got involved in the implementation of the plan.
Under M. Gorbachev, implementing this plan became a possibility, and the first phase was the process of fuelling separatism in the NKAA. In that period, the attitude of the Soviet leadership toward the Azerbaijani SSR became unjustifiably negative, which was particularly noticeable against the backdrop of connivance for nationalist appetites and separatist sentiments in the Armenian SSR. And this is not surprising too. The entire entourage of M. Gorbachev -- political and economic advisors and experts on ethnic issues were ethnic Armenians -- G. Shakhanazarov, E. Bagramov, A. Aganbegyan, S. Sitaryan and many others. During M. Gorbachev's visit to France in October 1985, Gorbachev's advisor Academician Abel Aganbegyan, who was a member of the Soviet delegation, delivered a speech in Paris to the representatives of the ethnic Armenian community, in which he said that "Nagorno-Karabakh will be incorporated into Armenia, and M. Gorbachev's approval for this has already been received."
In August 1987, Karabakh Armenians sent to Moscow a petition, signed by tens of thousands of citizens, with request to "make the NKAA part of the Armenian SSR." And in mid-November 1987, Abel Aganbegyan expressed his desire to "learn that Karabakh has become part of Armenia" in France at a reception which was given in his honor by the Armenian Institute of France and Association of Armenian Veterans. On 18 November of the same year, in his interview with the French newspaper L'Humanite, A.G. Aganbegyan made a statement: "I would like to learn that Karabakh has become part of Armenia. As an economist, I believe that it is more linked with Armenia than with Azerbaijan."
Roughly at the same time, the Armenian terrorist organization, Union of Armenians (UA) was created, which established close relations with the paramilitary subunits of Dashnaktsutyun. The goal was providing members of the Armenian terrorist organization ASALA with forged documents and counterfeit money for their unrestricted movement in the USSR. The UA played an active role in supplying weapons and mercenaries for the purpose of organizing terrorist acts in the mountain areas of the Azerbaijani Republic's region of Karabakh. The ties with ASALA were maintained by the terrorist organization mainly though the terrorist V. Sislyan, who acted as a mediator. (Materials of the State Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for the affairs of prisoners of war, hostages and missing citizens. Vozrozhdeniye-XXI Vek magazine, issue 37, 2001).
The Armenian Church stepped up its activities and took an active part in the hot phase of the new round of anti-Azeri actions in Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenian SSR. On 25 February 1988, Catholicos of All Armenians Vazgen I said in his televised address from his residence in Echmiadzin: "I have received in the last few days many letters and phone calls from our clergymen abroad, who on behalf of 2 million Armenians who live abroad have asked me to petition the Soviet leadership for a fair assessment of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue... I have conveyed these requests in my telegram to Mikhail Gorbachev, who commands our highest respect, in which I asked him to address this issue in a manner which would satisfy the Armenian population of the NKAA... I reassure you that the NKAA issue will be addressed in a special way at the very high level in Moscow... Our goal is not to prevent a just decision with our actions, but to successfully see this through..." By making this statement, the head of the Armenian Church urged his congregation to openly defy the official authorities of the Azerbaijani SSR and continue the undeclared aggressive war of the Armenian SSR against the Azerbaijani people.
Catholicos of All Armenians Vazgen I, who was one of the leaders of the Karabakh separatist movement in the period of dissolution of the USSR, urged the Armenian people in the summer 1988 to continue its "peaceful" expansion as the Soviet Union was dissolving.
The mechanism of action is shown in Catholicos Vazgen's address dated 12 June 1988, which is cited in G. Shakhnazarov's book "Destiny" (pp 50-52 in the Armenian-language book). It read: "It is no secret that our lands still do not belong to us, but time will come to conquer and inhabit them. In the last 40 years, Armenians have been settling in the lands of their ancestors. Now Armenians account for 60% of the population there.
It is common knowledge that separatism gains support in those countries where the central authorities are weakened and the institutions of state are undermined. Another essential precondition is support for separatism from outside. In case of the NKAA, both conditions were in place: The central Soviet authorities were weakening by the hour, and the newborn Armenian separatism had massive support from the ethnic Armenian communities abroad and political circles in the Western countries which were interested in the dissolution of the USSR.
Beginning from 1987, with open connivance and sometimes even tacit agreement of the Kremlin authorities, all types of terrorists, criminals and provocateurs from different parts of the world started to flood the Armenian SSR for the purpose of preparation and provoking the bloody phase of the Armenian-Azeri ethnic conflict. The official government bodies, police, departments and organizations of Armenia got involved in this process -- the process of pushing out the native ethnic Azeri population of the republic started all over the country.
The Armenian organizations Krunk in the NKAO itself and the Karabakh Committee in Yerevan, which mushroomed after Perestroika, had again set out to implement the project of effective secession of Nagorno-Karabakh. In October 1987 in Yerevan, Armenia, the Dashnaktsutyun party founded so-called Karabakh committee, which was to carry out large-scale combat operations to expel ethnic Azeris and Kurds by force, using the methods and tactics of mass terror. First, the process of pushing out 200,000 Azeris from Armenia was launched.
The first Azeri refugees from Armenia appeared in Baku in front of the Azerbaijani Communist Party Central Committee building in the fall of 1987. They were residents of the Kapan District of Armenia. Political analyst Arif Yunus (who researched the history of expulsion of the ethnic Azeris from the Armenian SSR in 1987-1990) wrote than he personally saw four buses with refugees from the Kapan District in the last decade of November 1987. In his interview with journalist Thomas de Waal, the second secretary of the Kapan District Communist Party Committee Aramais Babayan did not deny the fact that the ethnic Azeris left the Kapan District in November 1987, but claimed that there was no violence, simply "Azeris left because something scared them."
In his interview with the Moskovskiy Komsomolets newspaper on 6 February 2004, the former chairman of the Azerbaijani SSR KGB, Major General V.A. Husaynov, pointed out that in February 1988, there were already several tens of thousands of refugees from the Armenian SSR in the Azerbaijani SSR. A.F. Dasdamirov (in 1988-1991, secretary of the Azerbaijani SSR Communist Party Central Committee), wrote that "by 18 February 1988, the number of Azeris who were forced to leave Armenia as a result of the policy of intimidation and violent actions, had already exceeded 4,000." (Vestnik Analitiki, issue 3, 2005).
However, the ideologues of the Armenian nationalism knew very well that the expulsion of Azeris from Armenia which they started would be widely publicized and have a negative effect on the "long-suffering" image of Armenians in the USSR and beyond. The Armenian ideologues decided to provoke a massacre of Armenians in Baku and other cities of Azerbaijan and then start shouting about "genocide" and encroachments against the Armenian people worldwide. That would make it possible to prove the impossibility for Armenians to live in Azerbaijan, and therefore, the need for incorporation of the NKAA into Armenia. At the same time, the "angry reaction of Armenians against the pogroms in Azerbaijan" would be cited as the cause for the growing extent of expulsion of Azeris from Armenia.
The Azeri refugees from Armenia, and later from the NKAA, were arriving in Azerbaijan and getting settled in the capital and large cities. The inaction of the Azerbaijani authorities on the issue of combating Armenian separatism and their inability to address the issue of Azeri refugees from Armenia further heated up the situation in Azerbaijan. Different kinds of provocateurs, who flooded the cities of the republic, decided to take advantage of this situation. Baku, Kirovabad (now Ganca) and Sumqayit were chosen as the priority targets for the acts of provocation.
The fact that on 21 February 1988, the NKAA legislature declared secession from the Azerbaijani SSR in and accession to the Armenian SSR in violation of the USSR and Azerbaijani SSR constitutions also added fuel to the fire. Russian researcher S.I. Chernyavskiy noted later: "In contrast to Armenia, Azerbaijan did not -- and does not -- have an organized and politically active ethnic community abroad, and the Karabakh conflict deprived the Azeris of all support from the leading Western countries with their traditionally pro-Armenian positions."
According to the narratives of the Azeri refugees from the NKAA, in particular, of a former resident of Xankandi (then Stepanakert) Alamsax Rahimov, "Already in 1987, our Armenian neighbors started to openly speak about their secession from Azerbaijan and incorporation into Armenia, and that is when they will start living freely, prosperously and happily."
The first many-thousand-strong rally in the center of Stepanakert with demands for the "reunion" of the NKAA with the Armenian SSR took place on 13 February 1988.
On 20 February of the same years, an extraordinary session of the NKAA Council of People's Deputies was held, which passed the resolution "On petitioning the supreme councils of the Azerbaijani SSR and Armenian SSR to transfer the NKAA from the Azerbaijani SSR to the Armenian SSR."
On 23 February 1988, the leadership of the NKAA declared secession of the NKAA from the Azerbaijani SSR at the session of the legislature. The decision was reached to appeal to the supreme councils of Azerbaijan, Armenia and the USSR with request to satisfy the NKAA's desire to secede from Azerbaijan and join Armenia.
On 26 February 1988, a rally which was attended by almost 1 million people who shouted "miatsum" took place in Yerevan in support of the demand of the Karabakh Armenians for the reunion of the NKAA and the Armenian SSR. Calls were made at the same rally for a violent expulsion of the Azeri population from Armenia. After the rally, well-organized and well-governed pogroms of Azeris in different districts of Armenia started with tacit consent of the local authorities. The Soviet leadership also remained silent and did not react to numerous facts of violent expulsion of Azeris from Armenia in any way.
The news about the events in the NKAA and Armenia reached Azerbaijan very quickly, where in the capital and major cities crowds of Azeris who were driven out of Armenia started to gather. Their numbers were increasing day by day, they arrived looking frightening, beaten up, with frost bites, and told stories of killings and humiliation which they had to endure in Armenia. Protest rallies started in Baku and other cities.
On 23 February 1988, groups of residents of Barda and Agdam and refugees who joined them started a march towards Stepanakert to put up resistance to Armenian nationalists from among the NKAA leadership. Near Asgaran, the crowd was stopped and clashes took place with the law enforcement bodies, in which two young Azeris were killed. On the same day, Hero of Socialist Labor Xuraman Abbasova stopped a huge crowd of enraged men by throwing her headscarf, a symbol of feminine dignity, at their feet. Many party functionaries and law enforcement officers have noted on numerous occasions that, had the mass of people not been stopped back then near Asgaran, they would have marched across the entire Karabakh and wiped the Armenian separatists out of there. That the phone calls were made from the NKAA legislature building in Stepanakert to Baku, in which the callers begged to do something because the local Armenian population was in panic and ready to flee to Armenia, testifies to this.
In Baku and Sumqayit, where most of the refugees from Armenia arrived, the situation was getting aggravated and finally became explosive. On 19 February convoked a meeting of the heads of the party and police bodies of all the 11 districts of the capital, heard their reports and analyzed the situation. The picture of what was going on: Refugees were arriving from Armenia to Azerbaijan, settled in the villages near Baku, where other Azeris lived. The refugees told them about grievances and injustices which they endured in Armenia. The stories by the refugees inflamed youth. Passions were flying dangerously high. At any moment, there could emerge provocateurs who would lead the angry crowd to attack ethnic Armenians in Baku.
Had been rdered to block off all the motorways from the villages in the vicinity to Baku. Next day, buses with refugees from Armenia were stopped by traffic police cordons and they went to Sumqayit, where the already tense situation started to further aggravate. Academician Arif Malikov, deputy of the USSR Supreme Council, reminisced that on someone's instructions from Moscow, criminals who were pardoned shortly before these events started to arrive in Sumqayit in large numbers from all over the USSR. In his book, "I Accuse," Arif Malikov wrote: "Already from the early 1988, repeat offenders from all corners of the USSR started to arrive in Azerbaijan in large numbers. The Interior Ministry reported that a meeting of criminal kingpins took place back then in Baku, which developed an action 'plan.' Those criminals played the 'first fiddle' during the tragic events in Sumqayit... About 4,500 'visiting' criminals were detained, who perpetrated robberies and brutal murders of Azeris, Russians, Tatars, Armenians, Jews and others. Among the criminals, there were quite a few ethnic Armenians who killed other Armenians: V.G. Kagramyan from the Stavropol Territory, Russia, R.Kh. Pogosyan from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, I.A. Bayanduryan from Spitak, Armenia, G.A. Balasanyan from Donetsk Area, Ukraine, Minasyan from Yerevan, Armenia and others. As a deputy of the USSR Supreme Council, I had the right to inspect prisons and detention centers where the people who were detained for the crimes were held in custody. The detained 'visiting' criminals openly bragged that they had arrived in Baku for an 'uproarious break.'"
It becomes clear that the Armenian separatists had very influential sponsors both among the Soviet leadership and outside the USSR, who did their best to make the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict irreversible. These forces used the Armenian provocateurs as a cat's paw to rule out any possibility of the talks or dialogue and pushed for shedding more blood. For this purpose, provocateurs of all types organized pogroms in the city of Sumqayit, flooded by refugees from Armenia, on 28 February. In one day of pogroms, 32 people were killed, including 26 Armenians and 6 Azeris.
Arrests of participants in the pogroms started in Sumqayit, and then the USSR Prosecutor's Office started an investigation which made it clear that the crowd was led by ethnic Armenian Eduard Grigoryan, who killed and raped several Armenians. Further investigation of E. Grigoryan's role in the Sumqayit events established a huge number of facts which proved that Grigoryan carried out the specific task of kindling ethnic hatred. State prosecutor Aslan Ismayilov in the court hearing of the case of Grigoryan and other accused individuals was directly involved in the legal procedures. When Ismayilov read the volumes of the case materials, he visualized the full picture of the extent of the Armenian act of provocation in Sumqayit and the role of the external forces which wished to present the Azerbaijani people as merciless murderers in it. Provoked by Armenian provocateurs, not without participation of the USSR KGB, the February 1988 events in Sumqayit became later the main propagandistic trump card for the Armenian nationalists and their sponsors in kindling the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict for the purpose of occupation of the Azerbaijani territories.
The events which followed had a tragic end, both for the Azerbaijani and the Armenian people. Describing the consequences of the despicable act of provocation by the Armenian nationalists, Azerbaijani Presidential Staff Chief Academician Ramiz Mehtiyev noted: "Have the incumbent leaders of the country, as well as ordinary Armenians, have ever wondered what the South Caucasus region would have been like today had the mock patriots from the Krunk and Karabakh committee had not embroiled their people into this senseless adventure in those years? There can be no doubt that this would be an exemplary region with a closely integrated economies of the three countries, in which the ethnic origin of a person would have little importance, everyone would be able to maintain his identity, and the peoples would be able to continue cultural development. But what have the adventurists achieved instead? Apart from a pointless war, thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, economic breakdown, large minefields instead of plowed fields, defense spending instead of social safety spending -- they have achieved nothing: Nagorno-Karabakh has not been incorporated into Armenia, and it never will be. Neither 20 years ago, nor today or 100 years from now." (Ramiz Mehtiyev, Goris-201: The season of the theater of absurd, Baku, 2010, pp 3-4).
It is clear that the Sumqayit events were a well-prepared act of provocation against the Azerbaijani people, Armenian author Robert Arakelov confirms in his book, Nagorno-Karabakh: The culprits of the tragedy are known. Arekelov notes: "In different places in Stepanakert and in the Yerevan newspapers, the idea was reiterated again and again: 'We have failed to take a full advantage of a favorable factor like Sumqayit in the process of resolving the Karabakh issue." Sumqayit Armenians, who testified at the court hearing in Yerevan, also confirmed that these events were organized by Armenians. For example, L. Mezhlumyan testified: "Grigoryan entered my apartment, hit my mother with the leg of a chair which he had broken, I made an attempt to resist, but I was too weak. He dropped me on the floor and did what he wanted." Participant in the events Nacafov said: "The group headed by Grigoryan broke into building No 512, and stripped Emma, who lived there, naked. Then Edik Grigoryan suggested that they should take her, naked, out onto the street, and then Emma was brutally killed."
These facts clearly demonstrated the readiness of Armenian nationalists and their foreign sponsors to achieve their expansionist goals at all costs, and first and foremost at the cost of the blood of their own fellow Armenians. The war which they later started on the Azerbaijani territory of Karabakh resulted in halving of the population of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenians have been leaving what they call "damned" Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh in large numbers for the last 20 years.
The Armenian-language periodical Yerkramas (it is published in the Krasnodar Territory of the Russian Federation) reported that in the last 20 years, after the dissolution of the USSR, the number of ethnic Armenians in the North Caucasus decreased by 80-85%. The last census of the Soviet period was conducted in 1989, and its comparison with the Russian Federation's statistics for 2009 makes it possible to see the dynamic of migration of the ethnic Armenians. According to statistical data, the ethnic Armenian population has been steadily leaving the Caucasus, including Armenia. "According to unofficial data for 2002, about 1.8 million people remain in Armenia (compared to 3.5 million before the Karabakh conflict), and in Nagorno-Karabakh, there are about 70,000 residents (compared to 120,000 Armenians before the conflict).
Is there a need for a writing on the wall for the Armenian people to understand what price it had to pay for becoming the epicenter of putting into practice the chimera of "Great Armenia," which drives mad a handful of nationalists in the ethnic Armenian communities abroad? The Armenian diaspora lives prosperously in the USA and Europe and exports to Armenia the virus of nationalism which has already almost halved the number of Armenians in the South Caucasus.