Genrikh Pogasyan, 1990

Deputy and First Secretary of NKAO regional party cttee
[ Nagorno Karabakh – Armenia?? ] IV in 1990, presumably
Interviewer: Gwynne Dyer

Pogasyan: I think that the problem of NK is not the problem of the government authorities. It is the problem of Armenian people and as concerning the Armenian government, I think the most burning problem for them is the consequences of the terrible earthquake of last December. I want to stress that the consequences of the earthquake, the problem of the refugees from the area and from the Azerbaijan republic is burning question, but as far as the Armenia people, I think that problem Number One remains the problem of NK.

Dyer: Please describe what the events were that occurred in the past year that caused so many refugees from NK and Sumgait.

Pogasyan: The Armenian population of NK region regenerates the question of their self determination and revision of their political status, which was settled in the twenties. Unfortunately, not only are the Azerbaijanian authorities did not go out of their narrow consciousness. They prefer to use violence to resolve this problem. The first demonstration of force was the tragic events in Sumgait and the consequences are the masses of refugees. … They have to leave Armenia. You can’t compare these two events. The Azerbaijani refugees from Armenia left in an organized way, while the Armenians left everything behind them. The next demonstration of the politics of force was the organized blockade of the Nagorno Karabakh region and of Armenia. The geographical situation of NK and of Armenia is that all the goods can come only through Azerbaijanian territory. By blocking all the railways and other ways, the Azerbaijanian authorities stopped all construction that had foreign builders connected with the earthquake, no supplies of food or fuel. Economic life in Armenia is stopped. The situation in NK is even worse because the blockade has lasted a longer time. The only way in with supplies is by helicopters. The damage caused by that blockade is estimated at 800 million roubles. We regard this as a war declared by Azerbaijani authorities. We have posed the question before the Supreme Soviet and next week they will begin discussing it. In my opinion, the progress is very little. As concerns NK the situation there remains the same. In Armenia the situation is far from the normal standards.

The Russian Quest for Peace and Democracy, by Metta Spencer, published by Lexington Books