THOSE, WHO DO NOT PAY THE COST FOR INDEPENDENCE, SILENTLY LEAVE THE HISTORIC STAGE
Twenty years ago on these days the Armenian people was experiencing
national revival. The struggle for unification of Armenia and Artsakh
had started in Nagorno Karabakh, Armenia and the Diaspora. The
struggle continues and will continue until justice is restored and
until Nagorno Karabakh acquires its right to be free and independent.
At the end of 1988 the Armenians mainly assembled at the Opera
Square. Like magnet the Opera Square was attracting Armenians from
Yerevan, other cities and villages. The February of 1988 and the
following two years can be considered one of the brightest pages in
Armenian history. In those years the Movement was still pure, there was
nothing mercenary in it. People were ready to sacrifice their lives
for the sake of the Movement. People gathered at the square thought
the Karabakh issue would be solved soon and believed that Moscow would
transfer the region to Armenia, thus restoring the historical justice.
Twenty years have passed, but the Karabakh talks still go on, since
Azerbaijan psychologically cannot get used to the loss of Nagorno
Karabakh, which was under its jurisdiction in Soviet times. Why do
we celebrate February 20 as the day of the Movement? Because on that
day, the Council of the Autonomous Region of Nagorno Karabakh made
a decision unprecedented for a totalitarian Soviet country, when
the majority of the MPs voted in favor of applying to Azerbaijan
and Armenia, as well as the Supreme Council of the Soviet Union,
suggesting to transfer the region to Armenia.
In reality, however, the Movement had started much earlier. It had
started after the illegal decision taken in July 1921, when under
Stalin’s patronage the Caucasus Bureau annexed the region with 95%
of Armenian population to Soviet Azerbaijan. If the question refers
to the contemporary Karabakh struggle, it kicked off after 1985,
when Mikhail Gorbachev declared about his theses of "restructuring,
openness and acceleration," commonly known as "perestroika, glasnost
Gorbachev’s policy on Nagorno Karabakh was incorrectly interpreted.
Behind those words our compatriots in Artsakh saw an opportunity to
get rid of Azerbaijani rule and join Armenia in a legitimate way.
In 1987 tens of thousand of signatures were collected to be sent
These signatures were some kind of a referendum, with which Artsakhi
Armenians wished to withdraw from Azerbaijani rure. At the end of
1987 delegations of Artsakhi intellectuals started visiting Moscow. In
those times ecological strikes were underway in Yerevan, during which
the topic of Karabakh was gradually appearing.
The first demonstration took place in Hadrut on February 12, 1988. The
next day it moved to Stepanakert. Thus, the train started off. However,
this was not a simple move: the Armenian people was to pay a very high
price for the 20 years to follow. The war penetrated into everyone’s
homes. Sure, the peaceful population of the conflict zone suffered
most. But that was the price for independence and freedom. Peoples,
who do not pay the price, silently leave the historic stage.