By Kim Gabrielian in Stepanakert

AZG Armenian Daily

These very days 15 years ago the forced eviction of Armenian population
in Getashen (northern Nagorno Karabakh) began. Supported by the Soviet
Army, Azerbaijani OMON (Special Purpose Detachment of Militsiya)
forced the Armenian population of the region out of their homes. The
Armenians were deprived of all possibility for self-defense, and
only thanks to a group of martyrs the number of victims did not
increase. That was the beginning of genocidal actions, which grew
into a bloody war against the freedom-loving people of Karabakh.

On occasion of this anniversary NK parliament factions Democracy and
Fatherland and leaders of ARF Movement-88 called a news briefing.

Head of Democracy faction, Vahram Atanesian, stated that the Getashen
events were the response of Soviet leadership to Armenia's refusal
to participate in the referendum to decide USSR's future.

As a response to Soviet Armenia's April 24 statements on situation in
Getashen, Mikhail Gorbachev sealed off this Armenian region banning
even sanitarian helicopters to enter Getashen. On May 6, Russian
soldiers bundled 4.000 Armenians off to Armenia.

The April 6 visit of Russian general Boris Gromov to the epicenter
of ethnic tensions and his meeting with illegal lord of Karabakh,
Viktor Polyanichko evidence that eviction was conducted by direct
order from Soviet leadership.

On May 15, Azerbaijani authorities made a decision to transport their
citizens who had settled in Armenian houses in various Azeri towns to
Getashen. This was an unprecedented act of ethnic cleansing in the
Soviet history. This notorious Soviet-Azeri campaign named "Koltso"
(circle) continued in Shahumian and in Nagorno Karabakh itself.

Presenting the events at large, Vahram Atanesian said that the NK
parliament is going to organize hearings on 15th anniversary of tragic
events in Getashen and Shahumian. They plan to invite Russian deputies
also as still in 1991 a group from Russian parliament arrived in the
region and after seeing what had happened they held hearings back
home. Shorthand report of the Russian hearings in the State Duma
archives will certainly shed light on the events of 1991 confirming
the anti-Armenian policy of Azerbaijan in late 20th century.

Head of Fatherland faction, Artur Tovmasian, added that the eviction of
Getashen triggered in fact an undeclared war against Nagorno Karabakh.

Armen Sargsian, head of ARF Movement-88, said that though the Getashen
events took place under Bolshevik rule, Azerbaijan anti-Armenian
policy has not changed with the regime shift, and the lesson of
Getashen teaches that we have to rely only on ourselves.