The Azeri spokesman brings a false quotation

Noyan Tapan News Agency
http://www.noyan-tapan.am/
August 30th, 2004

By Haroutiun Khachatrian

I am not fond of reading carefully the propagandist declaration of any
state officials, and for this reason, I had not read the notorious
declarations of Col. Ramiz Melikov, the head of the press service of
the Ministry of Defense of Azerbiajan.

These declarations have, by the way, got coverage in media and
reaction of different state officials (to my opinion, these reactions
were much more than deserved). In particular, we have placed the
article of Harut Sasunian in California Courier (See The Noyan Tapan
Highlights, issue of August 17). Last week, even the members of the
Armenian Caucus of the U.S. Congress have sent a letter of protest to
the State Department (see page 2). But when a friend of mine wrote
that the interview of Mr. Melikov contains a reference to MY NAME, I
had to read the above-mentioned statements, in which, to recap, he
expressed the belief that Armenia as a state will be eliminated in
25-30 years. In his interview to the Zerkalo newspaper of Baku, dated
August 14, he said the following (below is my translation from
Russian, the original text is available at www.zerkalo.az).

"Arutiun Khachaturian, (this is the adopted spelling of my name in
Russian, H.K.), an expert on political and economic issues, in his
article in the issue of 16 July, 2004 of The Washington Post newspaper
wrote that in 1988-1994, as a result of the Karabakh war, 16 thousand
people left Armenia. Again, according to his calculations, during the
subsequent 10 years, 1 million citizens left Armenia. i.e.,
Khachaturian claims that on average, 100 thousand people leave Armenia
each year". I have no honor to have articles published in The
Washington Post. Nevertheless, I decided to find the article of
question to see who is that Khachaturian, "the expert on political and
economic issues", who has published such strange data in that
respected edition? Owned to the kind assistance of the staff of the
library of the U.S. Embassy in Armenia I discovered that NO article of
any person named Khachaturian was published in The Washington Post in
June-July of 2004. Moreover, there are only two articles having
relation to Armenia in that newspaper in the same period. These
articles, written by Susan B. Glasser, were published on July 11 and
12. They contained no reference on any person named Khachaturian, as
well as nothing reminiscent on the numbers presented by Melikov.

Hence, what Mr. Melikov has said in his interview is a lie. Not only
in its content, but simply as a fact. And, subsequently, it might seem
that there is no reason to attach the mythic "Arutiun Khachaturian"
with my name. The problem is, however, that I DO have publications
about the problem of emigration from Armenia, and some people, who had
read them, may believe that I could well have the publication
mentioned by the forger from the Azeri Defense Ministry. No one would
trouble himself to check the archives of The Washington Post as I
did. For this reason, I have to mention the following:

First, in none of my publications did I write that only 16,000 left
Armenia before 1994, and 1 million afterwards. Quite the opposite, the
bulk of the "exodus" took place during the wartime (at least 500,000
people left the country then).

Second, my last publication about the migration in Armenia was as
early as in December, 2002 (available at www.eurasianet.org). Hence, I
had no chance so far to cover these problems during the last two
years, where the situation has been quite different compared to that
in 90s.

Returning to the statements of Mr. Melikov, to say it frankly, the lie
I discovered was unexpected, but not surprising for me. This is the
usual style of the official Baku propaganda, and even in the same
interview, several more examples of lie and falsification can easily
be shown. It is very sad that this has become the style of the
official propaganda of Azerbaijan, which, ultimately, serves to only
one purpose, namely, keeping the anti-Armenian mood high among the
Azeris. I share the opinion of many people, both in Armenia and in
Azerbaijan, that due to this propaganda, the two nations cannot return
to normal relations, even after some settlement of the Karabakh
conflict is achieved. Not to say that these moods are direct obstacles
to the possible settlement.


The Noyan Tapan Highlights, August 30th, 2004