Laying of flowers in memory of victims of Sumgait pogroms, Stepanakert, February 28, 2019. Photo by Alvard Grigoryan for the Caucasian Knot

01 March 2019, 08:22

NKR residents commemorate victims of Sumgait pogroms

On February 28, district centres of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) held marches, laying of flowers and other events in memory of the victims of the Sumgait pogroms. A documentary film about the pogroms of the Armenian population in Azerbaijan in late 1980s and early 1990s was screened in the central library of the district centre of Gadrut.

The Sumgait pogroms lasted from the evening of February 26 to February 29, 1988, and they were the first mass explosion of ethnic violence on the eve of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The pogroms led to the first flows of refugees from Azerbaijan to Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, whereas the first refugees from Armenia had already arrived in Azerbaijan by that time. According to Armenian sources and eyewitnesses, several hundred people fell victim to the pogroms, and of them, about 100 people were killed.

In Stepanakert, in the first half of the day, the NKR leaders, employees of institutions, students and high school pupils, townspeople and refugees from Azerbaijan laid flowers and wreaths to the monument to the victims of the Sumgait tragedy in the Memorial Complex. Also there, Pargev Martirosyan, the head of the Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, read a prayer for the repose of all those who perished during pogroms in Sumgait, the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent reports.

"I was born in Sumgait; and I also lost my relatives. Today, we commemorate the innocent victims of Sumgait and state that we'll do everything we can to preserve the memory about them," Father Pargev Martirosyan has stated.

We must continue working to ensure that the Sumgait crime receives a political assessment, Masis Mailyan, the head of the NKR's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), has stated at a briefing. He has noted that in 2018 his Ministry prepared about a dozen of documents informing about what happened to Armenians in Sumgait, which were distributed in international structures. Mr Mailyan has added that new documents are being prepared for the 31st anniversary of the events in Sumgait.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on February 28, 2019 at 08:07 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Alvard Grigoryan; Source: CK correspondent

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