In the late 1980s, taking into account a deep economic, political and ideological crisis of the USSR and the voluntarist and discrimination policy of M.S. Gorbachev, head of the Soviet state, the leadership of Armenian SSR and the Armenian nationalists put forward territorial claims against Azerbaijan SSR, took steps contradicting the Constitution and laws of the Soviet Union in order to seize Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan’s historical territory, and consequently gave rise to the first territorial conflict in the USSR.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, this conflict further deepened and turned into a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Armenian side gravely violated the principles of international law, carried out a policy of terrorism, ethnic cleansing and genocide, and expelled hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis from their homeland territories, where they resided in from ancient times and which include in the territories of present-day Armenian Republic. On top of that, Armenia completely occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region and surrounding districts of Azerbaijan – Kalbajar, Lachin, Qubadli, and Zangilan, and considerable parts of Jabrayil, Agdam and Fuzuli districts. Consequently, a part of the Azerbaijani population of these territories was killed, taken hostages, tortured, and others were forced to leave their permanent places of residence. Undoubtedly, Armenia is considerably weaker in comparison with Azerbaijan with regard to human and economic potential, statehood traditions and richness of culture. Thus, in achieving Armenia’s these “successes”, the third party, namely some foreign states, which use Armenia as a tool in order to ensure their geopolitical interests in the South Caucasus or have certain relations with Armenian diaspora and terrorist organizations, and the forces, operating in the territories of those countries and distinguishing with their anti-Azerbaijani position, played a key role. Merely as a consequence of an open or private support from foreign sponsors, Armenia, on one hand, progressively expanded its occupation policy, and on the other hand, was exempted from the penalties and sanctions, which are imposed on an aggressor state in accordance with the international law.
Armenia’s claims over the mountainous part of Karabakh, namely Nagorno-Karabakh, one of the geographical parts of Azerbaijan, are proved to be groundless with the historical facts. This territory, located within the boundaries of the Caucasian Albania until the 8th century, became a part of the Arab Caliphate in that century; then a part of the feudal states existed in a succeeding order in Azerbaijan between the 9th and 11th centuries; a part of the Atabeys, Ilkhanate, Qaraqoyunlu, and Agqoyunlu states during the 12th and 15th centuries; a part of Safavid state from 16th until the middle of 18th century. In the middle of 18th century, Panahali khan Javanshir founded independent Karabakh khanate. This khanate was occupied by the Russian Empire in the early 19th century.
From 28 May 1918 to 28 April 1920, Nagorno-Karabakh was a part of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR). The US historian Tadeusz Swietochowski wrote that the ADR was consisted of four provinces from geographical point of view – Baku, Ganja, Karabakh and Zagatala (1, 197).
In 1920, Soviet Russia occupied Azerbaijan and on 7 July 1923, the Central Executive Committee of the Azerbaijan SSR adopted a resolution on the formation of Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) in the mountainous part of Karabakh (2, 152-153). Nevertheless, the Armenian separatists made regular efforts to separate Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan. On 28 November 1945, G. Arutinov, First Secretary of Central Committee of Communist Party (Bolshevik Party) of Armenia, addressed to the head of Soviet State J. V. Stalin and asked for the transfer of Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. However, Azerbaijani leader M. J. Bagirov demonstrated resolute and just position on this issue and thus, Armenians could not achieve their goals (3, p. 37-38). In November 1960, A. Mikoyan, known for his frequently changing political position and hereby achieving to remain in the Soviet leadership for a long time, again put forward a claim for transferring Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. However, the Soviet leader N. Khrushchev rejected this claim and suggested to resettle Karabakh Armenians to Armenia. Although Armenians again raised their groundless claims against Azerbaijan before the Kremlin in 1972, the General Secretary of the Communist Party L. Brezhnev and the ideologist M. Suslov sent their documents back to Yerevan without having discussed. (4, p. 97).
During “perestroika” of M. Gorbachev, Armenians again put forward territorial claims against Azerbaijan. At this stage, their action plan included the dismissal of Heydar Aliyev, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the USSR Communist Party and first deputy chair of USSR Council of Ministers since 1982, from the political scene. No doubt that the Armenians played a role in his dismissal due to alleged health problems in 1987. In 1990, First Secretary of Armenian Communist Party K. Demirchyan openly stated: “Our most important achievement was the dismissal of Aliyev before the beginning of Karabakh movement. It was very important.” (5, 27-28).
Armenian separatists and their supporters in Kremlin and foreign countries were broadly propagandizing to seize NagornoKarabakh from Azerbaijan. At the meeting with a group of French Armenians in Intercontinental Paris Hotel on 16 November 1987, A. Aganbegyan, advisor of Gorbachev on economic affairs, expressed his support to the transfer of Karabakh to Armenia and stated: “I have made a proposal in this regard. I hope that this problem will be resolved in line with reconstruction and democracy”. (5, p. 30).
On 20 February 1988, at the session of the Soviet of People’s Deputies of NKAO, a decision was adopted to petition to the Supreme Soviets of the Azerbaijan SSR and the Armenian SSR for the transfer of the NKAO from the Azerbaijan SSR to the Armenian SSR. However, a day later, on 21 February, it was stated in the decision on Nagorno-Karabakh adopted by the USSR Communist Party Central Committee that this petition contradicted the constitution (6, p. 190-191). Nevertheless, on 15 June 1988, the Supreme Soviet of the Armenian SSR intervened in the internal affairs of Azerbaijan and expressed its consent on incorporation of NKAO in Armenia. In its turn, the Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan SSR stated in its resolution of 17 June that the demands for the transfer of NKAO to Armenia were unlawful. On 21 June, the Soviet of People’s Deputies of NKAO appealed to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR requesting the transfer of Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia and on 12 July, adopted unlawful decision on separation of Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan (7, p. 262-263). Soviet leadership led by M.S. Gorbachev was pursuing a policy of gradual separation of Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan by different manoeuvres instead of preventing the lawbreaking actions of Armenians. The decision of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR dated 12 January 1989 “On the application of special form of governance in NKAO of the Azerbaijan SSR” (8) was a part of this policy. In accordance with the decision, Nagorno-Karabakh was separated from Azerbaijan and transferred to Special Administration Committee, led by A. Volsky and subordinated to Moscow. The activities of the Special Administration Committee created conditions for the intensification of relations between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia and for the expansion of separatism in the region. For example, the Committee member V.M. Mishin ackhowledged: “… I understand and respect the purposes of Karabakh movement. Establishment of close relations with Armenia is a fundamental issue for us” (9).
One-sided position of Special Administration Committee raised serious concerns in Azerbaijan and resulted in the adoption of the Constitutional Law “On the Sovereignty of the Azerbaijan SSR” on 23 September 1989 by the Supreme Soviet of the Azerbaijan SSR (7, p. 273). On 28 November 1989, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR adopted a resolution “On the measures to normalize the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast” (10). In accordance with this resolution, the Special Administration Committee was dissolved, governance of Nagorno-Karabakh was again transferred to Azerbaijan, and the Supreme Soviet of the Azerbaijan SSR was recommended to take legal steps in order to enhance the status of NKAO and improve inter-ethnic relations. However, no practical assistance was provided to Azerbaijan in preventing Armenia’s separatist activities. Taking advantage of Kremlin’s inactivity, on 1 December 1989, the Supreme Soviet of the Armenian SSR adopted decisions “On the unification of the Armenian SSR and Nagorno-Karabakh” and “On the decision of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on measures to normalize the situation in the NKAO, and on 9 January 1990, a decision “On inclusion of socio-economic development plan of NKAO in the state plan of the Armenian SSR”. In the decision of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR dated 10 January 1990, it was highlighted that the decisions of the Supreme Soviet of the Armenian SSR contradicted the Constitution of the USSR, violated the sovereignty of Azerbaijan and it was impossible to apply them in the territory of Azerbaijan. Armenia was also urged to adapt its decision to the USSR Constitution (11). Like other decisions of the USSR Supreme Soviet regarding Nagorno-Karabakh, this decision also remained on paper and no action was taken against Armenia, which refused to implement this decision. On the contrary, provocative actions were carried and malicious plans were prepared against Azerbaijan. Plunder committed in Baku on 13 January 1990 by Armenians was one of such provocations. Inactivity of the armed forces of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry Internal Affairs of the USSR stationed in Baku and the command given them not to intervene in the national conflict (12, p. 213) prove that this event had been a provocation against Azerbaijan. Over the night of January 19-20, under the order of M.S. Gorbachev, the Soviet troops entered the capital and several districts of Azerbaijan. Consequently, hundreds of peaceful population were killed and wounded. While the USSR leadership related this tragedy to the events took place in Baku on 13 January, the Human Rights Watch noted that this action was planned beforehand (13). It demonstrates, on one hand, the plundering by Armenians had been a pre-determined provocation against Azerbaijan and, on the other hand, whom the Kremlin support. As a result of the January tragedy, the people of Azerbaijan completely lost their confidence in the Soviet leadership and this further strengthened their desire for independence and freedom.
On 30 August 1991, the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Azerbaijan adopted a declaration on the restoration of its independence, which was lost with the collapse of the ADR in 1920. On 2 September, at the joint meeting of Soviets of People’s Deputies of NKAO and Shaumyan District, the establishment of “The Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh” was announced (6, p. 198) and no doubt that this decision was initiated by Armenia. As the British journalist and researcher Thomas de Waal said “the declaration of “independence” by Nagorno-Karabakh, a region with little more than 100,000 inhabitants, was primarily a sleight of hand that allowed Armenia to say that it was only an interested observer, not a party to the conflict” (5, p. 189). Complete deportation of Azerbaijanis from the territories of present-day Armenia from 1988 to the late 1991, the involvement of Armenian inhabitants in the realization of a policy of violence and torture against Azerbaijanis in Nagorno-Karabakh leave no doubt that this republic is merely the main initiator and participant of the conflict.
After the collapse of the USSR, the conflict turned into a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan; the occupation policy of the first-mentioned was expanded; over the night of 25-26 February 1992, the Khojaly genocide was committed and as a result, more than six hundred peaceful Azerbaijanis were killed brutally; 20% of Azerbaijani territories was occupied by Armenia until the end of 1993; and on 12 May 1994, with the mediation of Russia, Bishkek protocol on the ceasefire between the parties was signed. However, despite the negotiations in different formats on the settlement of problem were carried out in the following years, they ended in vain due to the fact that the aggressor country was not called by its name, precisely, the international community did not acknowledge and recognize Armenia as an aggressor country.
As mentioned above, along with Kremlin’s anti-Azerbaijani position, the political, military and psychological support from abroad played an important role in the expansion of Armenia’s occupation policy. This support can be explained from different aspects. Some forces with official and unofficial status in the countries, where the Armenian lobby is active, took a stand against Azerbaijan and defended Armenia’s position, without considering the history and essence of the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh. Protecting their own geo-political and geo-economic interests, the international and regional powers made use of NagornoKarabakh conflict as a tool, supported the Armenian separatism through the variety of ways, and provided the superiority of Armenia in the confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan in order to exert pressure on Azerbaijan and receive concessions from this republic in the fight over this country, with favorable geographical position and rich in natural resources. They have secured the first advantage in the Azerbaijani confrontation. Some circles in the western countries tried to give a religious character to the conflict by demonstrating Christian fanaticism, called on the authorities of their home countries and the Christian world as a whole to protect Christian Armenia, expressed their political and religious-psychological support to the Armenians, and tried to spread the hatred of the Muslim Azerbaijanis.
In the beginning of Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, both republics were parts of the USSR. At that time, Armenia had received strong political, diplomatic and psychological support from the US, where the Armenian lobby was satisfactorily active. Undoubtedly, the United States, stimulating ethnic separatism and inter-ethnic conflicts in the territory of the USSR, had an interest in the weakening and eventually dissolution of its main rival.
On 19 July 1989, the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations passed a resolution “On the US assistance in finding a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in accordance with aspirations of the Soviet Armenian people”. The authors of this resolution called on M.S. Gorbachev to discuss the demands for the incorporation of Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia with the Armenians and urged to raise the issue of investigating at the highest level the exertion of force against Armenians and sentencing the perpetrators in the course of USSR – US bilateral negotiations (p. 127). Members of the US Senate, interpreting the truth and the essence of events and changing places of the right and the wrong, did not demonstrated a position on deportation of more than 250 thousand Azerbaijanis from their permanent places of residence in present-day Armenia from February 1988 to the early 1989, confiscation of their properties and killing of them by beating or burning. By doing all of these, they, on one hand, stood on the side of Armenia, carrying out genocide and ethnic cleansing policy against Azerbaijanis, stimulated it for continuing this policy. On the other hand, they tried to create a negative image of Azerbaijan in the world, when the chances of Azerbaijan to bring the truths to the attention of international community was very limited due to the fact that the USSR information channels were under the full control of Moscow. Another noteworthy point in this resolution is the call to resolve the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh “in accordance with aspirations of the Soviet Armenian people”. This point shows that the problem stems from the Republic of Armenia and its territorial claims against Azerbaijan, but not from the Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh. That is, as the Armenians claim, the conflicting party is Armenia itself, but not Nagorno-Karabakh.
The US Senate once again confirmed its anti-Azerbaijani position by adopting another resolution on 19 November 1989 and considered it acceptable to solve the problem in favour of the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh (14, p. 127-128).
On 18 January 1990, a group of the US Senate members sent a letter to M.S. Gorbachev and again raised the issue of incorporation of Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. A day before this, the European Parliament adopted a resolution to protect the Armenians, which required the European structures to defend Armenians before the Soviet government and to provide urgent assistance to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh (14, p. 128). It is impossible to say that the Kremlin neglected the voices from the US and Europe and did not react immediately. In other words, the development of events, namely, the resolution of the European Parliament, a letter of US Senate representatives to Gorbachev, and, finally, deployment of Soviet troops in the capital city and several districts of Azerbaijan on the night of January 19-20 under the command of Gorbachev and the committal of tragic events allow us to say that there has been an internationally agreed plan against Azerbaijan. It is not a coincidence that during the January tragedy, the Western media disseminated articles, which were one-sided, interpreted the essence of events, justified the command of Gorbachev on the deployment of troops in Azerbaijan by violating the USSR Constitution and laws, and presented the actions of Armenian leadership and the separatists and bandit gangs under its control for seizing Azerbaijani territories by terror, ethnic cleansing, tricks and other means as a national liberation movement of Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians.
On 19 January 1990, the New York Times (US) with millions of visitors across the world reported (15, p. 188-189) that more than 50 people were killed during the clashes between Azerbaijanis and Armenians. However, it had not said anything about the reasons and the perpetrators of those clashes in Baku took place on 13 January, the role and involvement of the Soviet special service agencies in these events, and the negligent attitude of military units stationed in the capital of Azerbaijan towards the events.” “… The situation in Azerbaijan was so dangerous that … Gorbachev had no choice but to order to deploy troops in this district”, the newspaper writes and does not express an opinion on the role played by Armenia’s groundless territorial claims against Azerbaijan in escalation of the situation, supports M.S. Gorbachev who is an architect of the massacre against hundreds of innocent people, including children, women, elderly and disabled on 20 January, and thus, forms a negative image of Azerbaijan on a world reader who is unaware of the essence of the events.
Another news published by the New York Times on 20 January (15, p. 189-190) can be considered provocative in nature, as it refers to the events from religious point of view. On behalf of the Russian nationalists, it says that the number of Muslim population in the Soviet Union grows, which becomes dangerous. After the deliberate dissemination of such information to the media landscape, it is not difficult to estimate that what position will be formed towards the Muslim Azerbaijanis and Christian Armenians in the USSR and all over the world.
The anti-Muslim rhetoric observed in the news story of “Osservatore romano” paper, published in Vatican, regarding the deployment of Soviet troops in Baku in January 1990 was also one of the factors contributing to the expansion of Armenian separatism. For example, one of news story in this newspaper reported at that time that “the revival of Islam accompanied by the demographic growth of the Muslim population in all over the Soviet Central Asia and the deteriorating economic situation often lead to a “war between the poor people” and cause the worsening of nationalism and intolerance among the opposing peoples. The evaluation of dramatic events should be conducted with responsibility and care. For a long time (at least 20 years), experts forecasted that ““the national issue” will explode within the Soviet “federation” and will appear extremely severe in the Central Asia, inhabited by more than one-fifth of the entire population following the Muslim tradition” (15, p. 190). Apparently, the “Osservatore romano” newspaper distracts attention from the real reasons of national conflicts in the USSR, including the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict and without any ground, relates their existence to Islam and the demographic development of Muslim population.
The anti-Azerbaijani position of the western countries was clear enough so that the representative of Turkey in NATO issued a statement on this matter. The statement read:
“1. Turkey calls for NATO countries to pay attention to the events in Azerbaijan as they did towards the “nationalist movements” in the Baltic republics of the Soviet Union and hereby to confirm that this bloc does not pursue “double standard” policy.
2. Western mass media outlets publish only the views of Armenian side. For Turkey, the approach of Azerbaijani side is of utmost importance as well. The West cannot come to a conclusion just based on the one-sided information.” (15, p. 193).
Pro-Armenian position of the Western countries was not left unnoticed by Turkey’s Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz at that time. In his speech on 24 January, he stated that the territorial claims stand at the root of the problem: “… the source of the events is Armenia’s claims over Azerbaijani territories, also the exertion of force, and the provocations for their implementation.” (15, p. 194).
On 24 January, in an article of Iran’s “Comhuriye eslami” newspaper, the unjust position of Western countries was criticised: “The United States defends a display of power in this city. It means that the West encourages Moscow to follow the path of oppressing Soviet Muslims by force. As a rule, the Kremlin leadership understands the importance of this support and thus, it can perceive the ugly purposes of the West, particularly the United States” (15, p. 196). The article hinted that the West, in the literal sense of the word, did not defend the Soviet leadership and that in order to create national conflicts and in this way to achieve the collapse of the USSR, it incited Moscow to exert a force on the Muslims.
In 1992, the US Congress passed Freedom Support Act to support freedom, pluralism and open markets in the independent states of the former Soviet Union. However, in Section 907 banned any kind of direct United States aid to the Azerbaijan. This section was emerged from the groundless claims on Azerbaijan’s alleged blockade of Armenia and was passed under the influence of the Congress supporters of the Armenian lobby in the US. Former US Secretary of Defence R. Cheney said: “In my opinion, it is a silly policy. It does not make any sense from the point of the US interests in the region. This section was passed as a result of US domestic policy, that is, the relations of the Congress members with their voters” (23, p. 149). Undoubtedly, adoption of such a document was indeed a means of pressure on Azerbaijan, at a time when the country faced challenging situation, thus, as a result of ethnic cleansing policy in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, one million Azerbaijanis were expelled from their permanent places of residence, became refugees and internally displaced, located in different regions of Azerbaijan, and obliged to live in tents and in need.
Foreign military support was also one of the main, almost decisive factors giving rise to the occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia. At various times, Armenia was provided with weapons, mercenaries and military advisers from abroad illegally and secretly.
Starting from the middle 1980s, the process of equipping the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh with weapons was carried out. “In summer of 1986, with the help of Dashnaks, the Armenians of Karabakh received the first part of small arms and light weapons from abroad. Then this process began to be carried out regularly. “Somehow the number of weapons produced in the Czech Republic were very high”. These weapons were sent first to Nagorno-Karabakh. “All organizations in Karabakh were equipped with weapons. All local Komsomolists possessed own weapons.”” (5, p. 28). The Soviet authorities turned blind eye to illegal and massive equipping the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh. However, they were even seizing legally obtained hunting rifles of the Azerbaijani population. This was the forced and purposeful disarmament of Azerbaijanis against the armed Armenians.
Lebanon, Syria and some other Arab countries were among the countries providing military assistance to the Armenians. Along with ammunition, the mercenaries with the war experience were also sent from these countries to Armenia and then to Nagorno-Karabakh. According to the article published in French newspaper “Journal du dimanche” on 24 January 1990, “In recent weeks, airplanes with heavy weapons, mortars and automatic weapons were flying from Lebanon to Yerevan. The unloading of cargo was carried out under the auspices of the Armenian customs officers at night. The latter has been exempted from any control outside the republic and taken the side of the most extremist-minded Armenians. It is already several days that no Russian serve at the customs department of airport…
Armenians from Beirut and Damascus can often be seen as heading these groups. Some of them are close to Lebanese terrorists and Christian armed groupings. Hundreds of Lebanese Armenians, with special experience in street fighting tactics, have arrived here without a visa. Some of them are still in Yerevan, but majority have already departed for the border districts, near Goris and on the opposite side of Khanlar.” (15, p. 191-192). The above-mentioned facts, without a doubt, raise some questions: Could the airplanes full of weapons and the Lebanon Armenians without a visa pass the strictly protected Soviet border without a permit of Moscow? Was it possible that Armenia’s customs authorities could leave the Kremlin’s control and that to massively dismiss Russians from any state body in the USSR? Could the armed groups entering the territory of the USSR from abroad and freely moving here be left unnoticed from the control of the Soviet special service agencies? All these questions have one answer – no. Then it appears clear that all of these operations were carried out with consent of the Soviet leadership.
The team of M.S. Gorbachev was creating conditions for illegal equipping of Armenians not only from abroad, but also within the country. Thomas de Waal notes that “Some of the weapons came from the four regiments of the Soviet Interior Ministry stationed in Nagorno-Karabakh in 1991. On 22 December, armed Armenians broke into the barracks of the police regiment in Stepanakert, seized the ammunition store and armored vehicles… It is possible that the raid was a cover for a business deal.” (5, p. 195)
The 366th Motorized Regiment of the Soviet Army deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh in 1985 was closely cooperating with Armenians. Around 50 of the 350 soldiers of the 366th Regiment were Armenian. It was possible to easily deal with the Regiment’s officers to obtain either heavy or light weapons. Armenians simply paid the regimental officers in vodka or rubles to deploy its weapons. In July 1991, an officer named Yury Nikolayevich mistook the American human rights activist Scott Horton for a businessperson and offered to sell him a tank for three thousand dollars. (5, p. 195).
After the collapse of the USSR, Russia and Armenia established close military-technical cooperation. Under the leadership of President B. Yeltsin, some circles of Russia, including number of high-ranking officials played a key role in equipping of Armenians with weapons and in illegal expansion of its military potential. The 366th Motorized Regiment was part of the Russian Armed Forces and operated in Nagorno-Karabakh until the beginning of March 1992. On the night of February 25-26 that year, with the help of this regiment, Armenians occupied Khojaly and committed genocide against Azerbaijanis.
The Russian military personnel’s involvement in the fight against the Azerbaijanis on the side of Armenians was not limited to Khojaly events. In 1992, a group of Russian soldiers who participated in Nagorno-Karabakh war with the Armenians was taken hostages by the Azerbaijani military personnel (20, p. 302).
Russian citizen and reserve Major General Anatoly Vladimirovich Zinevich headed the illegal armed units of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh in 1990s and his activities were widely covered in the Russian media (19, p. 18). This fact proves the involvement of Russia’s high ranking military personnel in the process of occupation of Azerbaijani territories.
There are also evidences showing that Russian Cossacks fought against Azerbaijan together with Armenians. Ataman of Kuban Cossack troops, Colonel Vladimir Gromov acknowledged in his address to Kuban, Don and Terek Cossacks: “A few part of the Cossacks participates in the military operations between Azerbaijan and Armenia on the side of Armenians…” (21, p. 260)
Undoubtedly, the above-mentioned comprises only some part of the facts confirming the direct involvement of Russian citizens in Armenia’s military operations against Azerbaijan. This number can be increased by referring to various sources.
In 1993-1996, modern weapons (R-17 operational and tactical missile complexes, “Krug” surface to air missiles, T-72 battle tanks, PDM-2, “Grad” rocket launcher, “Igla” surface to air missiles) were transferred from Russia to Armenia worth of $ 1 billion. (16, p. 194-195). At the time, then First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan A. Abbasov said in his statement that the weapons were transferred from Russia to Armenia with the participation of high-ranking officials and that the Russian army units had participated in the war against Azerbaijan: “The type and number of weapons, equipment and ammunition, the time and route of their provision, as well as the suppliers and buyers are known. The direct involvement of Russian Federation’s highranking officials in transferring weapons to Armenia can be proved by existing information and data. If this information is not complete, there are evidences on transferring of entire units of Russian army at the disposal of Armenian Armed Forces, the first participated in the military operations against Azerbaijan on Azerbaijan’s territory” (22, p. 113).
Transfer of mainly the weapons of attack to Armenians secretly and illegally changed the military balance of power between Armenia and Azerbaijan in favour of Armenia and those weapons played a significant role in occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan. Russian researcher A. V. Shishov said that “the attack operations of Armenian-Karabakh troops were carried out by using T-72 tanks, Mi-24 helicopters, modern military equipment and latest military aircrafts” (17, p. 448).
While Armenia was provided with comprehensive military assistance, Azerbaijan was subjected to various acts of diversions in order to weaken this republic’s military potential. Thus, there are concrete facts that during the distribution of the property of former Soviet army, a part for Azerbaijan was spoiled. For example, on 9 July 1992, a group of military personnel, serving in the CIS troops and presenting themselves as Russian citizens, burnt the military aerodromes, buildings and radio technical equipment thereof operating in Kurdamir, Sitalchay and Deller stations of Azerbaijan (18, p. 26-27).
The above-mentioned facts prove that Armenia managed to occupy the territories of Azerbaijan thanks to direct or indirect foreign support and assistance and as a result of pressure policy realized by some countries against Azerbaijan. It should be highlighted that Azerbaijan rejects Armenia’s groundless territorial claims and does not accept the status-quo arose from the occupation policy. Moreover, Azerbaijan works for the restoration of its territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally recognized borders, enjoys the opportunities of bilateral and multilateral diplomacy to achieve its purpose, and continuously strengthens its defence potential and army.
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Associate Professor of the Department of Regional Studies
at the Azerbaijan University of Languages
Doctor of Philosophy in History
“EXPOSURE OF ARMENIA’S OCCUPATION POLICY (COMPILATION OF ARTICLES)”. BAKU – 2019, p.281-300