The Day when Armenia pulled the trigger of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
The approval of the unlawful results of the referendum by the Supreme Council of the Armenian SSR on June 15th 1988 in respect of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region of Azerbaijan SSR on the transfer the region from the Azerbaijan SSR to the Armenian SSR with the full connivance of the Politburo was the ‘trigger’ that started the escalation of the smoldering conflict over Karabakh for many years that soon turned into soon the war between the republics. Political analyst, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Oleg Kuznetsov, and the leading expert Political Science at the the Center ‘North-South’ Aleksander Karavaev commented on the meaning of the date June 15, 1988 for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in an interview with a ‘Vestnik Kavkaza’ correspondent.
According to Oleg Kuznetsov, this historic document was adopted by the Supreme Council of the Armenian SSR, was a watershed between two stages in the development of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. ‘‘Above all, it should be said that nationalist trends in Karabakh and Armenia started much earlier: thus, on January 8th, 1977 Armenian nationalists blew up the Moscow metro. According to documents of the Soviet secret services, it was not a secret for the top political leadership of the Soviet Union that nationalism in Armenia exceeded all reasonable limits,’’ he said.
"The necessary conditions for the unification of all Armenians we created around the single center, initially round the Central Committee of the Communist Party ArmSSR. For this reason, the appearance of the document according to which NKAR of Azerbaijan SSR joined the Armenian SSR. To be more exact, on the approval of the results of the February referendum. The acceptance of the subject of the Soviet Azerbaijan as a part of Armenia was a natural political act. However, it contradicted the constitutional laws of the Soviet Union. Of course, it raised serious legal conflict that existed in the Soviet Union, but it was impossible to solve it with the help of the legislation," Oleg Kuznetsov said.
"We should understand that legal instrument by the legislative body of the Soviet Armenia as of May 15th, 1988 was the trigger due to which the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict appeared,’’ he concluded.
Aleksander Karavaev agreed that the decision of the Armenian SSR Supreme Council gave a strong impetus to the separatist movement in Karabakh. "The conflict already existed at that period of time, its foundations appeared a few decades ago during the relocation of the Armenian population to the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh in the early Soviet period after the Great Patriotic War,’’ he recalled.
The connivance of the center led to the fact that that impulse was not suppressed. "We can say today that the authorities in Moscow were unable to focus properly on the solution of this conflict. Moscow took many important actions and technical steps in order to smooth over the situation, but the Gorbachev’s team failed to take a pragmatic view of the future. They were engaged in conflict haphazardly from case to case, depending on the pales of outbreaks. Everything was done post factum and with a delay. The result is the extension of the conflict,’’ the analyst said.