Soviets take hard line on unrest. Communist Party daily reports troop movement into troubled region

The Soviet Communist Party newspaper, Pravda, announced yesterday that troops had been brought into ``a whole series'' of towns in Armenia and Azerbaijan. The two southern Soviet republics are involved in a dispute over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnically Armenian enclave administered by the predominantly Muslim republic of Azerbaijan.

In a toughly worded article, Pravda once again asserted that tension in Nagorno-Karabakh was being maintained ``artificially and extremely cleverly.''

The comments recalled an article in the same paper in late March which claimed that unrest in Karabakh was being manipulated by foreign anti-Soviet forces. In the past, however, such hard-line statements have tended to aggravate the situation rather than calm it.

``The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh has become even tenser,'' Pravda wrote. ``It would have seemed that it couldn't get any worse, but day in and day out, as if under the influence of mass hypnosis, the Armenian population of Stepanakert [Karabakh's capital] turns out for demonstrations and meetings.''

Pravda's tone suggested that the Soviet leadership is becoming increasingly frustrated with its inability to control the Nagorno-Karabakh disturbances.

Unrest first flared up in mid-February, when Karabakh's local government voted to be transferred to Armenia. The disturbances have so far cost at least 35 lives and caused intermittent paralysis of the economy in parts of Armenia as well as most of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The latest strike in Nagorno-Karabakh - which Pravda confirmed was continuing - began May 22.

Armenian sources say the cause of the strike was a strongly worded speech made in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku on May 21 by Yegor Ligachev, the country's second-ranking leader.

Armenian sources reported soon after that some troops were in the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Some Soviet observers in Moscow had believed that turmoil over Nagorno-Karabakh would at least abate after last week's votes by the Armenian and Azerbaijani parliaments. The Armenian parliament had voted to include Karabakh into its territory; Azerbaijan had voted against the idea.

The two votes were contradictory, but it was hoped that they would at least reduce tension temporarily. Pravda's article indicates that this has not happened.

[The Associated Press reports that Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennady Gerasimov said Wednesday that the annexation request would be taken up by the Presidium of the national Supreme Soviet, the Soviet Union's highest legislative body, but that it probably would not be discussed in the near future.]

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK