TBILISI (Combined Sources)–The Petros Adamyan State Armenian Theatre in Tbilisi hosted a memorial service Thursday in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Armenian massacres in Sumgait, Baku, and Kirovabad. Despite a power-outage that prevented the showing of a documentary on the massacres, the memorial service paid homage to the victims of the massacres, and celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Karabakh Movement. Armenia’s in Russia’s Krasnodar District also held commemoration events Thursday in memory of the Sumgait Massacres.
The memorial service, which was conducted amid a power blackout that affected the entire district, featured a photograph presentation chronicling the pogroms of Armenia’s in Azerbaijan in the beginning and end of the 20th century; the chronicle of the Karabakh War; the destruction of Armenian historical heritage, including medieval cross stones of old Dzhugha in Nakhichevan. Other significant episodes in modern Armenian history were also highlighted in the photo-exhibit. The power outage forced the organizers of the event to cancel a scheduled documentary screening.
The President of the Armenian Center of Cooperation of Georgia Karen Elchian and Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Georgia Hrach Silvanyan gave speeches during the event. There were approximately a hundred people in attendance, as well as the Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia, representatives of the Armenian intelligentsia of the city, and students from the Armenian schools in Tbilisi.
The Sumgait pogroms against the Armenian population of the city began on February 26, 1988 and lasted until February 29. The massacres were the first act of ethnic persecution in modern soviet history. The Sumgait massacres lasted three days and were conducted with massive violence and killings. The massacres resulted in the displacement of thousands of Armenian refugees to Karabakh and Armenia. No investigations were conducted, however, and no one was prosecuted or punished.