“Black January links”Sumgayit interview with Aslan Ismailov prt 1.

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Interview by Akper Hasanov

Aslan Ismayilov: “Black January” and Sumgayit events are links in one chain “

Exclusive interview for 1news.Az with a well-known lawyer, author of the book “Sumgayit – the beginning of the collapse of the USSR” Aslan Ismailov (part 1.)

Republished by Republic Underground editorial 

January 9, 2021

Interviewer questions are in bold, responses are in plain text throughout. 

Above image credit: Montage of Sumgayit: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International 

The 21st anniversary of the tragic events of January 1990 is approaching. And therefore, I will begin our conversation with the following question: was the “black January” a logical continuation of the processes that took place earlier, in 1988, in Sumgayit? 

Without a doubt, these are links in the same chain. The entry of Soviet troops into Baku, accompanied by punitive actions that led to the deaths of civilians in the capital of Azerbaijan, was the final stage of provocations arranged by the Armenians and their patrons in the top political leadership of the USSR. Everyone knows that in February 1988, well-known events took place in Sumgait.

Azerbaijanis were presented to the whole world as a nation of savages. But I, as the prosecutor for the defense of the state accusation in the case of the Sumgayit events, can easily expose the lies that are still spread all over the world, like the one that “in Sumgait, Azerbaijanis cut the heads, ripped open the stomachs of pregnant women, hacked Armenians and made shashlik out of them” … I can prove on facts that the most serious crimes in Sumgait were committed by the Armenians.

I am not going to diminish the scale of the tragedy, but I will cite one characteristic fact: Armenian nationalists spread the news of the murder of more than a thousand people around the world, and the USSR prosecutor’s office discovered the murder of 32 people. Moreover, 26 of them were Armenians, and 6 people were Azerbaijanis.

 But, which is characteristic, the Armenian side in every possible way hush up not only the fact that Azerbaijanis were among the victims of the Sumgayit events but also the fact that the main organizer of the unrest in Sumgayit was the Armenian Eduard Grigoryan. You know, just starting to get acquainted with the case and seeing among its defendants the name of Grigoryan, an Armenian by nationality, a doubt arose in me: why did the Armenian show such cruelty towards people of his nationality?

Approximately on the tenth day after the beginning of my acquaintance with the case, it became clear to me that the Sumgayit events were organized by the Central authorities. 

As it turned out later, their ultimate goal was to put pressure on Baku, to try by any means to prevent the process of gaining independence of our state. These goals of the top party leadership of the USSR coincided with the goals of the world Armenians, as a result of which the Sumgayit events were organized, which became a prelude to the punitive action by the Soviet army against the peaceful citizens of Azerbaijan on January 19-20, 1990.

I will allow myself to move a little away from the main question, and I will ask whether only in Azerbaijan there were provocations by Armenian nationalists?

No, not only. In order not to be unfounded, I will give an example from personal experience. After the Sumgayit events, the resettlement of Armenians began to the Stavropol Territory of Russia. Some Armenian families settled in the city of Zelenchuk, Stavropol Territory, where at that time I lived and worked as the chairman of the district people’s court. Here they even opened a bread baking shop. 

Once I got a call: a completely unfamiliar voice began to threaten me. He set the time for me to leave Zelenchuk, otherwise, he threatened to cut out the whole family, “show what Sumgait is.” I will note that in Zelenchuk we were the only Azerbaijani family. At first, I didn’t react seriously. 

Then there was a second call with a similar threat. This has already alerted me. I told my wife not to leave the house under any circumstances. I went to the chairman of the regional branch of the State Security Committee, a participant in the Afghan war, Alexander Litvinenko, whom I knew as an objective person, and told him about the phone calls and threats.

He assured me that he would take care of the case. After some time, I asked Litvinenko about the progress of the investigation, since my family members could not leave the house. After calming me down, he said that there were always KGB officers in front of my house, my family was guarded, there was no cause for concern. Litvinenko noted that the specified call was made from a gas station, but it was not possible to identify the caller. Therefore, Litvinenko gathered the heads of Armenian families who had arrived from Sumgait at the KGB regional department and took explanatory notes from them.

All the invitees claimed that they knew nothing about these calls, promised that they would find the “culprit” and punish him. 

Litvinenko kept the heads of these families in the KGB for 24 hours, and then released them, after which the phone calls stopped. But this does not mean at all that such threats from the Armenians have stopped in other regions of Russia or other republics of the former USSR.

Blackmail, threats, provocations, acts of terrorism – these are the main methods of work of the world Armenians, who are ready to use all this arsenal of techniques to satisfy their age-old hatred of Turks and Azerbaijanis. And it is not at all surprising that the main organizer of the riots in Sumgayit was the Armenian Eduard Grigoryan. 

On the contrary, this indisputable fact indicates that Armenians are always ready for murders and provocations against representatives of their nationality in order to create the basis for the implementation of a more important idea – to discredit Turks and Azerbaijanis in the world, with the subsequent dressing in the toga of a long-suffering people who will many crimes have been forgiven, including the genocide of the peaceful Azerbaijani population in Khojaly.

Could you tell us about what Eduard Grigoryan was like?

We can get the answer to this question from the indictment of criminal case No. 18 / 55461-88, where it is written that Eduard R. Grigoryan, born on December 16, 1959, a native of the city of Sumgayit, Armenian, non-partisan, married, has two minors, dependent children. He worked as a mechanic for mill 140 at the Azerbaijan pipe rolling plant. Was tried. Second time – January 30, 1981. The third time – on April 5, 1982, by the Sumgayit City Court. As you can see before us is a criminal element who set foot on the road of crimes at the age of 17. It is precisely on this kind of elements that the forces interested in provocations have always relied on to destabilize the situation in one or another country of the world.

– Looking ahead, I will ask: to what extent are the theses of the Armenian side based on the fact that the investigation of the Sumgayit case was biased by Azerbaijan?

– Yes, I am familiar with this kind of theses of the Armenian agitprop. But, they are ridiculous and easily refuted, if only because the investigation of the Sumgayit events was led by the investigator for especially important cases under the USSR Prosecutor General’s Office Vladimir Sergeevich Galkin, who signed the indictment. Also, among the members of the investigation team, apart from Azerbaijanis, there were representatives of many nationalities who lived in the territory of the former USSR – Russians, Belarusians, Jews, Ukrainians. The investigation into this case was carried out by the USSR Prosecutor General’s Office, not Azerbaijanis who participated in the proceedings, but the group was led by Galkin, a Russian by nationality. That is why no one can accuse Azerbaijanis of prejudice against the Armenians.

I will note one more point: it was the head of the investigative group of the USSR Prosecutor General’s Office for the Sumgayit events, Vladimir Galkin, who later became the general of counterintelligence. It is quite clear who he represented under the cover of the prosecutor’s office …


Akper Hasanov