«Sumgait»: Evidence given by witnesses and relatives of victims of pogroms

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Viktoria Grigoryan, sister of murdered Seda Danielyan
“On Sunday, at 6.30 p.m., without any bad suspicion, they returned home. Somebody knocked on the door and asked: “Are you Armenians?” My sister’s husband answered: “No, we are Azeris”, and they left. A few minutes later there was a phone call: “Kolya, are you at home?” he said “Yes”. They said: “Do not leave, in a few minutes we shall come after you”. 10-15 minutes later some 25 people stormed into their home and started to beat them up. Then they took them out into the backyard, killed the husband immediately, hit the child 5 times on the head, punched my sister severely. After the pogrom-makers left, others came and saw my sister moving. When she noticed they are approaching, she hid the kid behind her body. There was not a single untouched spot on her body; you could not recognize her face. How they killed her…
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Danielyan Vitaliy, son of killed Nikolay and Seda Danielyans.
They entered the house and started to raid the flat. Then they took the parents’ passports and read a few words. One of them read out in good Russian “Danielyan”, stressing “yan”turned the page, it said “Armenian”. And he says: “Ok, this is enough”. Then they started to shout that they had come to drink blood. I was hit with a club first, and then – with an ????. Then I came to myself, tried to get my parents up, but my arm was broken, this is why I could not do it. I moved into the building entrance, started to ask the neighbors to call for an ambulance, but everybody was pushing me out and locking the doors immediately.
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Assistant to the chief prosecutor of USSR N.Yemelyanov.
We certainly knew that the situation was tense there, the information was there. Then a special group was established in the Prosecution office of the USSR. And if needed we were supposed to fly there and take decisive steps to prevent disorders, and most importantly – secure quality investigation of the crimes that had been committed there. By the end of February we already were expecting that all those demonstrations and talks could shift to violence, as the situation was extremely tense. And we got to Sumgait precisely at the moment of all those disorders. That was a picture, of course… I have been into investigations for quite long, and my people are very experienced, but we were strongly depressed with all that. Everything is burning, apartments are raided, dead bodies, women are raped, and wildly raped – by 20-30 people. This bacchanalia continued for a few days. The law enforcement bodies, militia in particular, never assisted the citizens – people of Armenian nationality.

Senior detective of investigative team of the Attorney’s office of USSR V.Reva.
If the events in Sumgait were covered in time and objectively, then further they would not take such a turn. Because our people were not informed at that time what had happened there. But it was practically genocide there. When a person is being killed just for being of certain origin.
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Zinaida Mudretsova, resident of Sumgait, witness.
I was talking to the father and the mother of a young woman who was killed. She was pregnant at her 6th month. Her surname was Manvelyan, name – Lola. Her mother is a teacher, father works at an institute. She was killed brutally. Her father found her in Mardakyan, dozens of kilometers from Sumgait. She had number 71 among unidentified dead bodies. Her father said that he moved around 3 morgues while he was looking for the dead body of his daughter: in Baku, Sumgait and Mardakyan.
See text (rus)

Valerij Gasparyan, the former resident of Sumgait, a witness of the events.
The brothers were killed right in front of my eyes. This was going on during three hours – from 11 to 2 at night. All those three hours the brothers were getting beaten. Right under our balcony Valeriy was trying to escape. They got him, threw him on the ground and killed brutally – with knives and stones. I could see how he was being trampled, and then they wanted to burn him. The right side of his head was burnt. Alik was being beaten 30 meters away from his brother, and then he was killed in the same brutal way.
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Rosa Danielyan, doctor, in 1988 worked at one of the hospitals in Baku.
This happened on 28 February 1988. My nurse ran up to me, she had gone out into the shop before this. She was crying and yelling. I ask her: “What happened, Laura? What is wrong with you?” We knew nothing at the moment. “Mrs. Roza, there is a truck coming full of killed men-Armenians”. She was crying and yelling. I told her: “What is this, it is not possible?!” “Yes, yes, it is true, I saw it myself, it is true!”.
See video

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