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‘Azerbaijanis were using women and children as human shield’ – USSR interior chief on Baku Pogrom

armenpress.am3 hours ago
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‘Azerbaijanis were using women and children as human shield’ – USSR interior chief on Baku Pogrom

It has been exactly 30 years since the last massacres of Armenians in Baku.

In early January of 1990, the rallies taking place in the Soviet Azerbaijani capital city of Baku were being held with “Death to Armenians”, “Glory to Sumgait Heroes”, “Long live Baku without Armenians” chants and hate speech towards the Armenians who had been living in the city for centuries.

After the rallies organized by the Azerbaijani Popular Front opposition movement, the Azerbaijanis began a premeditated attack on the last representatives of the Armenian community, with complete disregard to age or gender. The perpetrators had maps with the exact locations and addresses of Armenians.

Soviet officials who during those days were dispatched to Baku at the orders of Soviet Union leader M. Gorbachev later gave detailed descriptions of the inhumane actions, violence, cruelty and murders during the massacres of Armenians in Baku.

These officials include USSR Supreme Soviet representative Yevgeny Primakov, USSR Interior Minister Vadym Bakatin, as well as Major General Alexander Lebed – the then-commander of the USSR Armed Forces 106th Airborne Division, who himself witnessed the massacres.

During closed sessions of the 3rd sitting of the USSR Supreme Soviet’s 12th convocation, V. Bakatin’s speech clearly shows that the massacres of the Armenians was premeditated and planned.

“……the mass pogroms began on January 13th and 14th. The pogroms began unexpectedly, but they were well organized. The [Azerbaijani mob] was given the addresses of Armenians in advance: the Azerbaijani crowd of 5000 started moving towards the Armenians’ homes to kill and loot the Armenian population of the city. In this situation it was difficult to do anything, especially if we take into account the fact that the interior troops’ actions were being blocked with the fact that the culprits were using women and children as human shield.”

During the same session, Y. Primakov’s speech reveals the nature of the atrocities committed by Azerbaijanis.

“We were witnessing how in the situation, when the wild anti-Armenian pogroms caused numerous human deaths, tens of thousands of Armenians were deprived from their homes and expelled from the republic in few days”.

Being well aware of the massacres of Armenians in Baku, even during the active phase of the pogroms – from January 13th to January 19th – when Armenians were being murdered and tortured in broad daylight, the USSR leadership wasn’t hurrying to intervene, despite the fact that sufficient numbers of USSR interior troops were in Baku, which were capable of rapidly restoring law and order.

Gorbachev declared a state of emergency in Baku only on January 19th, when the Soviet government was jeopardized.

The massacres of Armenians in 1990 weren’t the first one and showed in a clear manner that impunity leads to new crimes. The first mass and organized massacres of Armenians in the present-day Azerbaijani capital were committed 115 years ago, in 1905, when hundreds of Armenia...

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