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Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.

The Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict grew rapidly. From the end of January 1988, waves of refugees began to arrive from the Kafan and Meghri regions of Armenia, as well as from the city of Kapan, spreading rumors about pogroms and atrocities of Armenians against the Azerbaijanis living on their territory.

Local authorities placed refugees near Sumgait. Passions were whipped up, and after in the clash of Armenians and Azerbaijanis near the village Askeran (Nagorno-Karabakh) two Azerbaijanis were killed, the massacre began in Sumgait. It was already impossible to stop the conflict.

In such an environment there was no time for demonstration performances, but we continued training, as if anticipating the next use of our skills in combat.

The local authorities had neither the political will nor sufficient forces of their own to take decisive measures and put things in order. All the main tasks of establishing constitutional order fell on the shoulders of the Soviet Army. Of the most combat-ready units, outposts were created and deployed along the administrative border between Azerbaijan and Armenia in order to prevent gangs of militants from both sides in peaceful villages, and SPN units began to be involved in reconnaissance, detection and destruction of bases and bands of militants. These tasks were mainly carried out by the Perekeshkül SPN brigade, but our 800 separate SPN company of the 4th Army also had to go on business trips. From the headquarters of the 4th Army, it was practiced to send complex groups of officers from various departments on business trips for a period of 1-2 months. During this period, the militants had almost no rifled firearms, and in the actions of the military personnel to counter them there were many elements of hand-to-hand combat. The classes that I conducted earlier were beneficial to the officers and soldiers.

District military commanders' offices were established in Baku and other cities. Checkpoints were set up at key city crossroads in order to prevent unauthorized rallies or to prevent militants from attacking micro-districts where Armenians live. At one of these posts, I had to be on duty for more than six months. During this time, more than once it was necessary to use hand-to-hand fighting techniques, ranging from simple slaps in the face of unbelted hooligans, to the detention of seasoned bandits.

At the posts there were personnel of 15-20 people, up to 3-4 units of armored vehicles (to block the streets), as well as periodically assigned a small group of special forces (up to 5-6 people) to carry out their tasks and the detachment of a detachment of psychological operations on armored vehicles with special equipment for sound broadcasting and agitation of the local population. The commandos and the "psychos" worked mainly at night. On and off the post, during curfew, the soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Yuri S. who was on duty with me made several effective arrests with the confiscation of weapons and various forged documents (of the republican prosecutor's office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the KGB). We have developed friendly relations with Yuri, and we often met in the service and outside it, because our units were stationed at the headquarters of the 4th Army. Once, Yuri and I had to perform together a task that was not typical and morally difficult.

At the checkpoint, the personnel were on duty on schedule. Senior Lieutenant Igor Chiruk, my good friend, often changed me. The events took place in December 1988. The day before, there was an earthquake in Leninakan and Spitak and from local "partisans", i.e. Azerbaijanis formed a team and sent to help the fraternal Armenian people. Captain Prokhorov was appointed senior team leader, and his deputy was Igor Chiruk. The IL-76 plane with this team crashed near Leninakan. 9 crew members and 63 servicemen were killed.

The refrigerator car with the dead in secret, since the situation in the republic was already tense to the limit, was delivered near Baku to the pump station. Me and Lieutenant Yuri S. with the SPN group, Major General N.F. Zubkov – a member of the Military Council of the 4th Army, the task was set: if possible, identify the bodies of Captain Prokhorov and Senior Lieutenant Chiruk, collect them in zinc and take them to a military hospital. That night of identification and those 72 coffins I still remember. This was a huge mental shock, which in the future influenced the formation of psychology classes when creating the SBOR system. Well, at least in each coffin there were identification documents made by someone in Leninakan. In general, we have completed the task.

The lack of political will in the Union in resolving interethnic problems in the Transcaucasus (and in other regions as well) put the Army in an idiotic position. Against the background of the Karabakh conflict, military units were used everywhere (Sumgait, Baku, Kirovabad, Zvartnots, Tbilisi), they were used both in terms of disarming and destroying bandit formations, and in terms of agitation, as well as in the removal of refugees from "hot" regions, when providing assistance after earthquakes in Leninakan and Spitak. For the army, these tasks are unusual, because the use of weapons is provided only in extreme cases, and so it is necessary to act, by persuasion, the psychological threat of the use of weapons and the physical force of hand-to-hand combat techniques. Thanks to my wrestling training and the experience gained in the school and in the classes in the troops, I successfully completed various command tasks.

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