Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through Peace and War by Thomas de Waal

By Thomas de Waal

Selection remarkable educational identify 2003Black backyard is the definitive learn of ways Armenia and Azerbaijan, southern Soviet republics, acquired sucked right into a clash that helped deliver them to independence, bringing to an finish the Soviet Union, and plaguing a sector of significant strategic value. It cuts among a cautious reconstruction of the heritage of Nagorny Karabakh clash because 1988 and on-the-spot reporting on its convoluted aftermath. half modern background, half go back and forth booklet, half political research, the ebook relies on six months touring throughout the south Caucasus, greater than a hundred and twenty unique interviews within the zone, Moscow, and Washington, and distinct basic resources, comparable to Politburo records. The old chapters hint how the clash lay unresolved within the Soviet period; how Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders exacerbated it; how the Politiburo didn't take care of the hindrance; how the conflict all started and ended; how the overseas neighborhood did not tackle the clash. What emerges is a posh and refined portrait of an attractive and interesting area, blighted by way of old prejudice and clash.

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The en­ vironment was the safest and most “nonpolitical” subject for protest— and therefore the first focus for public rallies in many other parts of the Soviet Union. The demonstrators complained about the condition of Lake Sevan, the Metsamor nuclear power station, the Nairit chemicals plant, and air pollution in Yerevan. But the organizers were being disin­ genuous. According to the leading activist Zori Balayan: We gathered on Theater Square with purely ecological slogans. . ” No one paid any attention to it.

But the whole people rose up, both in Karabakh and here. If people walked thirty or forty kilometers on foot to come to a rally and hundreds of thousands of people collected—it was something incredible. On one day, a terri­ fying number of people gathered around the opera, several hundred thousand—it seems to me it was difficult to suppress this with any arguments. All the more so because we were convinced that Gor­ bachev would resolve it within a week. God forbid that he should drag it out for a month!

In the next village, Razdan, youths with blood on their faces were picking up stones. 16 20 FEBRUARY 1988: AN ARMENIAN REVOLT PETITIONS AND DELEGATIONS In 1987 the latent Karabakh Armenian movement gradually smoldered into life. Activists toured farms and factories in Nagorny Karabakh col­ lecting signatures for what they called a “referendum” on unification with Armenia. 17 The Karabakh Armenians then organized two delegations that went to Moscow to press their case with the Central Committee. Senior Armenians were lobbying abroad.

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