ArmInfo. Violence and atrocities against Armenians in Sumgait, and then in Baku, Kirovabad and Maraga, resembled the horrors of the 1915 Armenian Genocide. This is stated in a statement by Armenian President Armen Sargsyan on the occasion of the 32nd anniversary of the pogroms of Armenians in Sumgait.
Recalling that today is the 32nd anniversary of the pogroms of Armenians in Sumgait, the President of Armenia emphasized that in February of 1988, with the criminal connivance of the Azerbaijani authorities, local armed gangs began mass violence against the Armenian population: genuine pogroms, accompanied by torture, rape, robbery and arson.
"As a result of a crime organized and committed at the state level, many Armenians were killed, many injured, subjected to violence and forcibly displaced," the head of state said.
At the same time, he stated that these actions are the result of xenophobia and especially Armenophobia, encouraged for decades in Azerbaijan, and which today have deepened even further, having received the character of a state systematic policy.
"Remembering the tragic events that took place more than 30 years ago, and the memory of our compatriots who died, proclaiming February 28 in Armenia and Artsakh as the Day of Remembrance for the victims of pogroms in the Azerbaijan SSR and protecting the rights of the displaced Armenian population, we also send a message to humanity - civilization cannot develop along the path of fascism, national discrimination and xenophobia. Every unpunished case, every false fact, every life interrupted by hate means the possibility of a new tragedy, means support among xenophobia's instigators and its propagandists, means a continuous wave of hatred in the region, an unhindered path to ethnic cleansing, and more serious crimes against humanity - genocide, "Sargsyan expressed his conviction. At the same time, the President of Armenia stated that the Sumgait tragedy and the Armenians affected by it were direct victims of Armenianophobia and xenophobia. "Leaving the path of the brown plague open today is a sign of disrespect for the memory of all those who fell victim to fascism and xenophobia. I respect the memory of our compatriots who became victims of Azerbaijani violence in Sumgait and Baku," the President of Armenia concluded.
Recall that ethnic unrest in the city of Sumgayit in the Azerbaijan SSR occurred on February 27-29, 1988. They were accompanied by massive violence against the Armenian population, robberies, killings, arson and destruction of property. According to the British journalist Tom de Waal, these events were "the first outbreak of mass violence in modern Soviet history." The Sumgait pogrom was a landmark event and a turning point in the aggravation of the ethnic conflict in Transcaucasia, which caused the first flows of Armenian refugees from Sumgait to Stepanakert and Armenia. According to the official data of the USSR Prosecutor General's Office, 26 citizens of Armenian ethnicity were killed and more than a hundred people were injured in the riots, while unofficial estimates say that the number of Armenians killed is hundreds During the clean-up operation, 276 military personnel received injuries of varying severity .. On February 29, 1988 at a meeting of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee in Moscow, it was officially recognized that the massacres and killings in Sumgait were carried out on a national basis, however, as indicated in the materials of the human rights activist Memorial Center, the lack of a timely investigation into the circumstances of the pogroms, the establishment and punishment of those responsible led to a further escalation of the Karabakh conflict.
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