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Since the beginning of the events (since 1988), operations have been regularly carried out in Azerbaijan to seize illegal weapons from the population (I remember an exhibition of seized weapons in the Baku House of Officers). There were no national formations in the republic yet, but from the Armenian side, for some reason, there were constant penetrations of militants, by the way, there were both Lebanese and Syrians among them.

The following picture turned out: the outposts of the Soviet army defended the Azerbaijani land, and the local people generally treated us well. But since 1990, everything has changed dramatically. Due to the futility of the authorities' efforts, and most likely with its connivance, provocations from extremist groups began to increase. In January 1990, Lenin Square in Baku gathered up to half a million protesters. The dispersal of such demonstrations was carried out by the internal troops that finally appeared from the center of Russia. The military units began to be blocked by the people, the entrances and exits, in particular, of the "Salyan barracks" were blocked by heavy dump trucks and concrete mixers. Their wheels were flat, and the cars themselves were welded to each other with channels. Upon the arrival of the Minister of Defense of the USSR, Marshal Yazov, an operation began to unblock the military units. Special forces from the SPN army company were cleaning the attics and roofs of nearby high-rise buildings from snipers.

The most brutal Armenian pogroms began. A military correspondent for one of the central newspapers who came from Moscow, having settled in our army headquarters, wrote an article about how the servicemen are hiding Armenians in their apartments. After the newspaper was published in print, pogroms and apartments of servicemen immediately began. Some of the officers of the political department stuffed this hack in the face, and he quickly retreated to Moscow. And we have a new headache - evacuation, in addition to the Armenian, also our own families. There were not enough people and equipment, they were taken to URALS, GAZs, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, UAZs, etc. Commander of the 4th Army, General V.S.Sokolov. and his deputies gave their "Volgas" to the officers for the removal of relatives. Families were concentrated in the headquarters of the 4th Army, in offices, gathered in columns and evacuated to the airports of Kala, Nasosny and Bina. Armenian families were taken to the railway station, which was guarded by paratroopers, and to the ferry.

To get them out of the apartments, they worked as "twos" plus a driver with a car. Once with Lieutenant Colonel Borovskikh Yu.I. drove in a UAZ for the officer's wife. The apartment was located in the Salyan Barracks area near a non-working church. Either from her, or from high-rise buildings, a sniper beat him from time to time. Not long before that, the church and neighboring houses were checked - everything was clean. Leaving the UAZ behind the house in the dead zone (do not drive up to the entrance right in front of the church), we trying to cover each other and swearing, because from the side of residential buildings it probably looked ridiculous, from the end of the house they began to approach the first entrance.

The shot rang out, of course, unexpectedly. The bullet struck 10 centimeters from the head of the lieutenant colonel, concrete chips fell on his head. About 15 meters away there was another 5-storey building, it closed well from the church. We instantly found ourselves under its walls. The Borovskys looked kind of wildly reckless. And then he remembered: "We need not the first, but the fourth entrance." Where we were shooting from, we did not calculate - all around the house. In short, he began to cover, and I ran first. Fortunately, trees grew thickly along the entrances, and I had to run about 50 meters. I looped between them quickly, trying to move at different intervals. At the last entrance I needed, I sat down and shouted: "Come on."

We were taught at the school to move on the battlefield, but here in the city, and in an incomprehensible situation it was more difficult to do this, and the degree of importance of correct movement, when you can be shot at, was realized differently.

We went up to the right apartment, the officer’s wife was quite plump and we had a question: "How will she reach the UAZ?" In general, we returned to headquarters without her, waited for the armored personnel carrier and already completed the task on it. By the way, in a conversation with this woman, we learned that during the intense shelling, she instinctively found the safest place in the apartment - the bathroom.

The situation in the republic continued to deteriorate. On the one hand, it was flooded with airborne subunits and units of internal troops arriving from the center, as well as formations of “partisans”. Their personnel, unlike us - those who served here for a long time, treated the local population quite carelessly, which, in turn, caused a negative attitude towards all people in uniform. Even the fact that Russian soldiers died on the border with Armenia while defending Azerbaijani villages did not evoke any special positive emotions after the January 1990 events.

The military rescued Armenian families in Baku, Ganja, Khanlar, Mingechaur and others. And on the border with Armenia, these same military men were already saving Azerbaijanis from Armenian fedoins, who massacred and burned them. Somewhere in August 1990, as part of a small group of officers, I had to go on a business trip to the border with Armenia. On the administrative border, Azerbaijani villages were interspersed with Armenian ones at a distance of 1-5 km to 10-15 km.

In the Kazakh region, in the village of Yukhary-Askipara, at an army outpost located on the territory of the school, we had to be under fire for 24 hours by bandit formations from Armenia after this village and the village of Baganis-Ayrum were freed from the Armenian militants, who numbered more than 200 people. The bandits were already armed with automatic weapons, grenade launchers, mortars and hail cannons. The fighting turned into fire contact at a distance and here hand-to-hand combat skills were useless. While defending Baganis Ayrum, Senior Lieutenant A. Lipatov died, several soldiers were wounded, and there were casualties among the local population.

Throughout the entire border, 1200 km, cattle thefts, shelling of villages, outposts, commandant's offices, and cars began to occur regularly. As far as possible, the army patrolled the roads and escorted government cargo. As part of the consolidated divisions, I also had to participate in these events. Nevertheless, the military could not fully provide security and sometimes themselves became victims of bandits. An example is the shooting of a bus with passengers near the village of Ashagy-Askipara, as well as an ambush. For example, in January 1991, on the Lachin-Shusha road, Armenian militants ambushed and shot at an UAZ car, in which was an Azerbaijani journalist Salatyn Askerova. She, Sergeant I.I. Goek and Major I.Yu. Ivanov died immediately, and the commander of the reconnaissance battalion, Lieutenant Colonel A.M. Illarionov, wounded, managed to jump out of the car, and until his last breath fought a battle, shooting one and a half magazine of cartridges.

The policy of the Center caused confusion among the servicemen. The Soviet Union was falling apart not through the fault of the common people, but first of all it - the people, in our case – we – the military, who were forced to carry out orders and orders that were often not entirely clear – suffered. The situation was worsened by delays in the payment of allowances.

The Popular Front in the republic was rapidly gaining strength, the next president was replaced, after the State Emergency Committee, a real mess began. Military units began to be disbanded, everything happened according to the scheme: weapons and property were transferred to local authorities, soldiers were fired, and officers were given personal files. We were lucky - reconnaissance units, paratroopers and SPN units were taken to Russia. Some under their own power, some on echelons.

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