Several days ago I learnt from the Republic's newspapers about barbarian acts committed in Armenia, destruction of the monument of great poet Samed Vurgun, and profanation of the grave of genius of the Ashug art, Alesker. Beyond any doubts, these atrocities were committed by extremists. I have always told and I will tell that what a handful of dregs did cannot be ascribed to the whole Armenian people. Some days ago my Yerevan colleague, Prof. P. Muradyan sent to me, with a note attached "to academician Buniyatov for thinking over", an A. Oganesyan's publication titled "Division of Borders" that had been published by the organ of the CC of the Communist Party of Armenia "Communist" on November 2, 1988. In describing the course of a Moscow trial over Ahmedov Ahmed, Ismailov Ismail and Jafarov Yavar, A. Oganesyan in his own manner interprets the Sumgait events, correlating them with the past of the Armenian nation. Though A. Oganesyan asks the intelligentsia of Azerbaijan to give an answer to what happened in Sumgait in February 1988, he immediately denies any possibility of an answer as saying: "We need no answer. We know what the answer is." Despite such an objection, I'd like to try to carry out an impartial analysis of what happened in Sumgait and answer why this happened not somewhere in Karabakh where such seemed quite appropriate to happen as a response to the killing of two Agdam boys by an Armenian militia man. and not in another town but exactly in Sumgait, a town that had been laid as a symbol of friendship of nations, of which many books and theses had been written.
How could such happen in our country at the eighth decade of its existence? How did it occur, given that during many years and decades all we had been doing was that we talked, at various levels, about a Lenin or Stalin friendship of nations, an eternal friendship, created houses of friendship of nations, and even invented the "Order of Friendship of Nations"? Perhaps, we were bored; otherwise why did we have to change "Barekamutyan" into Bagramyan?
We don't have to pronounce, instead of the opponent, common idiom "dark forces that committed the Sumgait massacre", which allegedly counteracted powerful just demands for linking Nagorno Karabakh to Armenia (though now the slogan is contrary: Armenia's linking to Nagorno Karabakh). But why raising the heads today are dark (I will not give it another name) Armenian revenge forces acting and claiming for certain mythical "Armenian lands among the three Seas: Black, Mediterranean and Caspian?" The whole Armenian statehood was liquidated in 387, i.e. right 1600 years ago ( It is a good jubilee, is not it? Is it the 1,600-year-old dreams that cannot let Merujan Artsruni's descendants calm down?)! The Armenian statehood has disappeared from eternal clashes and disputes among the families of Artsruni, Bagratuni, Mamikonyan, Amatuni, Bznuni and other sparapets, azarapets, malkhazs, tanuters and catapans claiming for Tsarist honors. Exactly when Armenia, as a state, was under liquidation in the 4th century, there appeared, as recalls of the past, various versions of a "History of Armenia" by Byuzand, Agafangel, Parbskiy, and Khorenskiy. Later Armenian historians Artsruni, Sebeos, Asogik, Taronskiy, Vardan, Aniyskiy, Arakel, Anonym and other wrote the history of rivalry families, wars, the history of Arabs, Persians, etc. and provided only minor information about lands where Armenians had once lived or now live. Frankly speaking, these were "cries" of the past. However, all the "histories" are ran over by one and the same thought: all foreigners robbed the common Armenian people similarly but the dominating top and the clergymen of Armenians had always enjoyed privileges because, in make foreign rulers richer, they were getting richer themselves. That always happened! Member correspondent of the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences Academician, Prof. Keropa Patkanyan wrote that Armenia had never played a particular role in the history of mankind. Armenia is not a political term but the name of a geographical zone, within which Armenian settlements are scattered, he said. Armenians always were bad owners of lands they inhabiting; however, they skillfully served to their strong neighbors. That is how K. Patkanyan used to say. Naturally, the characteristic the Armenian Prof. uses to describe his nation cannot be agreed with, but if look back to the time of the Near and Middle East's being conquered by the Seljuks we will see that enjoying the right of a privileged nation in full were Armenians only. It is not in vain that Armenian medieval authors mention "Christ-loving" Seljuk sultans, who let Armenians build churches and go in for entrepreneurship. Besides, Armenians lived a wealthy life under the Atabeks' rule over Azerbaijan as well as under the Ilkhanids, the Jelairids, Kara-koyunlu and Ak-koyunlu sultans, the Sefevids (except for the early years of rule of Shah Abbas I), and the Kadjars. In addition, Armenians have nothing to complain about the Ottoman sultans who always, according to the Armenian chronicles, tolerated Armenians and allocated troops to the Echmiadzin priests for the reasons of securing their estates and properties. Armenians, at least the Armenian top strata lived not a bad life during the rule of the last Ottoman sultan-Abdulhamid II. Everything changed following the establishment of the Dashnaksutun Party that was led by representatives of Armenian Comprador bourgeoisie whose prominent representatives were favorites of Abdulhamid II: the famous Akop-pasha and Nubar-pasha. The former was a personal treasurer of the sultan while the latter (a native of Karabakh) was even a vizier. They in Turkey and Europe for the first time ever learnt about Armenian nationalistic organizations in 1885. In France, England, Austria and other countries there were held gatherings of to-be Dashnak groups that created the first in their history committee headquartered in London. In the early 20th century in Turkey there was established a society titled "Saviors of the Armenian Commune" whose Dashnak leaders extorted, like modern organizations "Asala", "Krunk", "Karabakh", etc. do, money from their own Armenian population "for the reasons of savior". In Turkey, these Armenian committees in 1895-1896 caused a situation that very quickly grew into mutual hostility between citizens of Turkey: Turks and Armenians. Since then, this estrangement started being heated up by the Dashnaks. As for Turkey-based Armenian clergymen who enjoyed great privileges, their representatives made every effort to make a seed of discord grow stormily, so hatred for the state that had fed Armenians within its lands was growing.
Exactly those years saw the occurrence of an "Armenian question" as a consequence of Armenians' "cry". There emerged a huge number of Armenian strugglers and sweet-speaking demagogues who cried all over Europe about Turks-oppressors with no remorse. All this squabble was raised by Armenian nationalists after Turkey was defeated at the Balkans and before Kars, Erzerum, Bitlis and Van were invaded by the Tsarist troops. The Dashnaks supposed that Turks would leave their native places under the attack of Tsarist troops and they thus would catch a huge wealth. To involve Armenian working population in Turkey in their mean actions., the Dashnak leaders in Turkey committed such mean actions as the killing of Armenians and then blamed the Turks for these actions. In inflaming an inter-national slaughter in Turkey, the Dashnaks very much hoped that Istanbul would be occupied by the allies, something that would give them the full scope to reach far-going aims.
The aforesaid lines are taken from reports by Russian general consul to Van, Bitlis and Erzerum, Gen. Mayevskiy. This is a response to the A. Oganesyan-mentioned year 1895. Appropriate reply to another date this author cites, i.e. 1915 is, obviously, the reports by Russian Generals Nikolayev of July 1, 1915 and Bolkhovitinov of July 9, 1915 addressing count Vorontsov-Dashkov. Both generals very accurately described the terror and atrocities committed by Armenian Dashnaks led by Tero and Khecho against Turkish civilians. The sabotage in Van-based Russian troops committed by the Armenian Dashnak leaders led the Russian commandment to order to shoot them down from guns. Further, in January 1917 when the Russian troops withdrew from Trabzon, Erzerum and Bitlis, the Dashnak leaders committed there a real slaughter of Turkish civilians. This is to be concluded from reports by Generals Przhevalskiy and Odishelidze. Dashnak defiance, impudence is attributable to the last "historical" novel by Sero Khanzadyan who cries for Armenians, who had allegedly been killed in Erzinjan in February 1918. But everything was contrary. Reports by Gen. Odishelidze and memoirs of the Russian Army headquarters' Lieutenant-Colonel Tverdokhlebov are an eloquent testimony to the atrocities committed by Murat Sivasetsi-led Dashnaks in Erzinjan. Nearly all residents of Erzinjan (or Erzynk as Khanzadyan calls it) were gathered by the Dashnaks at a square in front of the Armenian church and in nearby houses and subsequently slaughtered and burnt down. In order not to be blamed for these atrocities committed in Erzinjan and nearby villages, all the Dashnak unit men were dressed the uniform of the Russian army. The Dashnaks committed similar mass atrocities in Sarykamysh (reports by sotniks Morozov and Kazimir). However, the most bloodthirsty gangster was, no doubt, one-eared warrior Andranik whose actions in Erzerum were described in every detail by Lieutenant-Colonel Tverdokhlebov (see News of the Academy of Sciences of the Azerbaijan SSR, Series IFP, 1988, #3).
Reports by Russian official-Dr. Khoreshenko of May 21, 1918 are an illustrative document about the slaughter committed by the Dashnaks in Akhalkalaki and nearby villages where they butchered several hundreds of Azerbaijanis. "That's the atrocities committed by civilized Armenians of the 20th century", Dr. Khoreshenko exclaims. Right 70 years ago the Dashnaks committed a slaughter in Baku as well. T. Amiryan, Shaumyan and Lalayan-led gangs slaughtered more than 10,000 Azerbaijanis in Baku, robbed and burnt many houses and buildings in the city, including the building of a "Charitable Society" ("Jamiyyet-i kheiriyya) that is now the building for the Academy of Sciences. Only interference of Alesha Japaridze prevented further atrocities by the Dashnaks. Nevertheless, the Dashnaks left Baku for Shemakha where they committed worse bloody crimes. In 1920, Dashnak gangs led by one-eared Andranik and Amazasp, instigated by Mikoyan, undertook a robber's raid from Baku and Khoya via Zangezur to Karabakh slaughtering Azerbaijani civilians. These gangs were defeated shatteringly by Azerbaijani troops at Askeran.
Now let's return to nowadays. The Soviet power in 1921 granted to Armenians, who had lost their statehood in the 4th century, this statehood so the Armenians have for 68 years already been of possession of everything citizens of the rest 14 Soviet Republics possess. All hardships and joys of peoples of the USSR to equal extent concerned the Armenians who, by the way, arrange not a bad life in the rest Soviet republics; the same is not true about representatives of the rest 14 Union republics. Prior to, after and during the Great Patriotic War, all peoples of the USSR coexisted peacefully under common slogans, as a common family. The friendship among nations of the USSR was displayed most illustratively in the years of the war. The Hitler propaganda failed to break the unity of our peoples. I'm alarmed at asking a question: what could happen if Armenians arranged this squabble during the years of the war? Beyond any doubts, the front would have collapsed within a few days. But thanks to the God, this did not happen.
But then came the year 1948. According to someone's cunning plan, thousands of Armenians started migrating from abroad to the territory of the Armenian SSR; it should be noted that re-settlers were primarily the beaten Dashnaks like Ayrikyan, Manucharyan or the daughter of member of the Dashnaksutun Central Committee Silva Kaputikyan. That moment saw the beginning of oppression and pullout of Azerbaijanis who had been living compactly in the lands forming the Armenian SSR for more than 500-600 years. This is confirmed by inscriptions at the graves that are now a-la barbarian destructed by modern descendants of the Dashnaks. Then there began a mass renaming of Azerbaijani villages, toponyms, hydronyms, etc. in the Armenian manner. Azerbaijanis, who were being expelled from their native places upon orders by Mikoyan, Beriya, Dekanozov, Armavir native Armenian Abakumov and others and with the knowledge of Bagirov, were being settled not in mountainous localities but in hot malaria-struck Imishli, Fizuli and other regions of the Azerbaijan SSR, though they should have been settled in Karabakh for the sake of avoidance of mean actions committed by Dashnaks like Melkumyan and Kevorkov and now like Pogosyan.
Little by little, the ideological processing of local "Ahpers" by the arriving Armenians reached such a huge scale that motto "Armenia amongst the three Seas" appeared as a result. Armenians' claims reached their peak after the international Armenian Mafia appointed Marshal Ion Antonesku's personal friend Levon Karapet Paldzhyan as the Catholicos. Instigated directly by Armenian tycoons in abroad and under the influence of Paldzhyan's sermon, the bellicose Dashnak propaganda grew from year to year. A bacchanalia of the contrary publications began. The sadly vanished Paruyr Ayrikyan, a favorite of Karapet Paldzhyan, was the first Armenian who began blackening the Azerbaijani people; he was followed by Z. Balayan, S. Khanzadyan, B. Ulubabyan (the latter was fed by the Azerbaijani land), daughter of a door maker carrying the name of Kalman beauty Silva and others who focused at insulting and abusing Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis. Silva urges the one-eared Andranik to take a pistol to shoot Azerbaijanis and cut stomachs of pregnant Azerbaijani women and promises to help him. How does it sound?
There began the "enlivening" of the dead, one-legged Krunk that started waving its used wings. Homebred local "revolutionary reformists" started touring foreign Armenian colonies where Dashnak functionaries assured Balayans of any sort of ideas of the "elected nation". Rich persons in abroad began financing the defiant anti-Azerbaijani propaganda in Western newspapers and at gatherings of any sort feeding large-scale actors such like Aganbekyan. Armenian trading Mafia in abroad and in our country masterly inculcated its men into the top ruling circles of our state. They had to choose an appropriate, like always, revolutionary moment in order to start acting against Azerbaijanis rapidly, staking all they had. Perestroika and glasnost announced in the country were a suitable cause to start attacking, in order to realize chimerical aims that had been left in the 4th century. Established in abroad and then placed in Yerevan, a "Karabakh Committee" in February 1988 started the so-called crusade to get NKAR's being linked to Armenia. A certain man said: "It is a surprise: I've just visited Karabakh in an underground manner, and I saw that everyone there looks like me."
A small deviation is required here. In 1978, i.e. 10 years ago village Leninavan (the former name Maragashen) saw the solemn ceremony of installation of a marble obelisk commemorating the 150th anniversary of resettlement (following the conclusion of the Turkmanchay Treaty of 1828) of the first 200 Armenian families from Maragha (South Azerbaijan) to Karabakh. In other words, the oldest gravestone at an Armenian cemetery in Maragashen is not older than 160 years. So what Karabakh's belonging to Armenia can be spoken about here? And it is not important who certain lands were once owned by. Peoples must live where they live, where the graves of their ancestors are. And where will this madness - repartition of lands at a boundary of two centuries - lead to? Only God knows.
Glasnost and perestroika enabled bellicose Armenian obscurants to come out of the underground and act openly through scaring labor-loving Armenian people and forcing them to stage rallies and go on strike for many consecutive days. The actors of "Krunk" and "Karabakh", enjoying an active backing from the clericals, had for many years been extorting money from Armenian population; he who refused to pay money was declared an enemy of the nation and an opponent of restoration of the mythical "Great Armenia." Following the killing of two Azerbaijanis, Armenian gang members had to be punished severely, so the Dashnak top of Armenian nationalists began seeking an opportunity to avoid being punished for the committed crime. Krunk members precisely defined a place to be subject to a retaliatory strike. Their mean strike hit Sumgait.
Why was it Sumgait? That's because the Dashnaks once again wanted to remake picture "Apotheosis of War" by painter Vereshagin into a modern photograph with "Armenian skulls". But before committing a massacre in Sumgait, bellicose Krunk members collected money from the town's Armenian population, recommended Armenians taking their deposits to banks, and finally recommended Armenian wealthy dealers leaving the town.
It'd be appropriate to say that the town of Sumgait had been made a kind of ecological hell by the time the tragedy began. Seven Union ministers planted the most poisonous production facilities in the town so everything around and even sea water and the whole Caspian shoreline turned to be poisoned. The town is overcrowded; its dens are worse than that in the New York City's Harlem. Starting from 1970, the town's authorities absolutely stopped dealing with questions of improvement of the ecological situation in the town and instead, dealt solely with their personal businesses, believing that Sumgait is a jumping-off place to make a career. In addition to all the inhumane living conditions, criminals of every sort were permanently settling down in Sumgait; their number exceeded 20,000 when the tragedy began.
The Sumgait tragedy had been masterminded by Armenian nationalists in a very thoughtful way. Several hours before it began, Armenia television and photo-reporters secretly penetrated the town and began waiting. Committing the first criminal action, under the pretence of an Azerbaijani, was a certain Grigoryan who personally killed five Sumgait Armenians. What happened later was a "technical" matter because a huge crowd could no longer be stopped. Furthermore, starting from the Shelokov era militia was banned wearing not only firearms but also common truncheons. And right the next day after the tragedy, a cast monument of "victims of Sumgait genocide" was installed in Stepanakert. How do you imagine this?
Thus, idle talks of Zoriy Balayan in the "Arguments", S. Zolyan and V. Sheynis in the "20th Century and World" and "intestinal spasms" of A. Oganesyan in the "Communist" must address Armenian nationalists like Kaputikyan, Khanzadyan and defiant Pogosyan. And there are no 400 illegal mosques in Azerbaijan, in contrary to what A. Oganesyan claims. As for the fifth Sura of Koran, it was said in 632 in connection with the struggle of Kaynuk tribes living on the Arabian peninsula.
That's the thoughts I was advised by my Yerevan colleague, Prof. P. Muradyan whom I in turn recommend focusing at questions by A. Oganesyan: "Has really nothing changed? Has really nothing changed since 1895, since 1915 or since 1920."
P. S. Decree by the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR titled "On the Introduction of Special Form of Rule in the NKAR of the Azerbaijan Republic" substantially stabilizes the situation in Nagorno Karabakh, gives a certain hope for change of the way of thinking of the region's Armenian population, though this is not simple. Krunk members had spent 40 years to persuade people to far-going aims that eventually lead to "self-determination." Prophet Moses spent 40 years carrying Israeli sons on the desert, to make them forget about the Egyptian captivity, to make those in captivity die, and to make the new generation know nothing about slavery. Let's hope that the case of the NKAR will not require 40 years. Let's also hope that academician A. D. Sakharov and his "informal aides" like laborers Batkin, Roy Medvedev, Zubov, Dubov-Sheludyayev and Starovoytova will be engaged in more useful affairs, for which they receive pay from the state. Azerbaijanis, Armenians, Georgians, Lezghins and other nations of the Caucasus have lived together for centuries and will continue to live together despite racist, nationalistic tricks of certain Dashnaks like Pogosyan, Balayan, Kaputikyan and Co.
Ziya Buniyatov. January, 1989.