YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"I ordered troops to enter Baku in January 1990. I do not regret this decision–because for more than a week there were persecutions and deportations of the Armenian population in Baku. In these conditions–when Gorbachev–as usual–waved the white feather–there was no other alternative," said Nikolay Ryzhkov–former prime minister of the USSR and current member of the State Duma–during a meeting with political and Russian community representatives in Armenia.
Ryzhkov made this statement in response to an inquiry into the Russian reaction to the Baku massacres of Armenia’s at the hands of Azeris in 1990. The question criticized Russian sympathy with Azeri losses–while forgetting the Armenian victims.
Ryzhkov said that the prosecutor’s office of Azerbaijan which instituted criminal proceedings in connection with the January 1990 events through Moscow prosecutor’s office–tried to extract evidence from him–but he refused–stating he would divulge information only to the prosecutor general of Russia at the time.
Ryzhkov also said that the leadership of the USSR and particularly Gorbachev took the wrong stance on the Sumgait pogroms. He stressed that it was necessary to give a correct assessment of the Sumgait massacres–in which case the tragedy could have been prevented to a certain extent.
The Armenian government firmly supports Russia’s stance of rejecting NATO expansion–said Nikolai Ryzhkov–the head of a Russian Duma delegation on a working visit in Armenia.
The people of the Russian Federation do not accept NATO’s program of advancing to the Russian borders and the leadership of the country assumed a very viable position on the subject–said Ryzhkov
The former prime minister of the USSR explained that the restoration of the Soviet Union was an unrealistic endeavor–however–he believes that the former Soviet republics cannot function separately–and therefore–they must find new avenues of integration.
He pointed out that during his forthcoming meetings with Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Robert Kocharian–the delegation of the State Duma "would outline its position so that the Armenian leadership may remove all problems impeding integration."
A quick pace of integration is in the interests of both countries and their people–Ryzhkov said.
Ryzhkov said that he "wished a draft treaty on friendship–cooperation and mutual assistance between the Russian Federation and Armenia–which is being developed now–would call for maximum integration" and that the Armenian leadership would agree to join the Russo-Belarus union treaty.