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KGB and Armenian terrorism

The leadership of the USSR and its punitive body, the KGB, although well informed of the events occurring in Armenia, did not pay the proper attention to those events. That was explained in a very matter-of- fact way: as the “cold war” was taking place, any means were good in the struggle against the “imperialistic West.” Today, however, it is now recognized that the center of international terrorism that became the real scourge of the planet in the 70s and 80s was the USSR. In other words, behind the Arabic, Kurdish and many other terrorist and ultra-left organizations, was the KGB using them for its own purposes. Foreign Armenians played a significant role in that policy of the soviet leadership.

In August 1961, the government of the USSR adopted a resolution on organizing the repatriation of foreign Armenians and in early 1962 the first group of repatriates from Cyprus arrived. In total, more than 26,000 Armenians arrived in Armenia between 1962 and 1973 (107). At the same time, secret contacts between the KGB and the “Dashnaktsutun” began, which were openly anti-Soviet spirited. While playing on the national feelings of Armenians, it also allowed them to carry out certain events in the republic in that respect, which, however, did not touch upon the basics of the soviet structure. In response, the KGB began to actively use the foreign Armenians in the struggle against the West. Meanwhile, every terrorist or ganization had its own specific targets. Thus, Arabs led their struggle with Israel and the USA, while Armenians had to deliver a blow to Turkey, the partner of the West on the southern flank of NATO.

On 27 January 1973, the Dashnaks opened a series of te rrorist acts against Turkish citizens, shooting three Turkish diplomats in Los Angeles. But that dubious activity was not really appropriate for a party that pretended to be respectable. In 1975, a special terrorist organization – ASALA (Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia), closely connected with the Palestine terrorists and the secret services of the socialist countries, and primarily the KGB, was established. Today it is well known that about 90% of the former Soviet secret services in the Middle East were Armenians and many of them interacted with ASALA (108). That is why very soon ASALA became synonymous with the KGB.

Since 1983, the leader of ASALA had been Monte Melkonyan. Later, after the beginning of the Armenian-Azeri conflict, he came to Nagorny Karabakh in 1991 and headed units in the Martuni district. In June 1992, he was killed there and buried with honors in Yerevan.

Afterwards, the connection with the KGB was turned against the Dashnaks. In July 1992, the president of Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, in his TV appeal to the people accused “Dashnaktsutun” and its leader, Grayr Marukhanyan, of cooperation with the KGB, referring to available documents. As Ter-Petrosyan explained, from the beginning of the Karabakh conflict, Marukhanyan and other high ranking Dashnaks met with the leaders of the republican and all- union KGB. As a result, it was then that an agreement was sealed according to which the Dashnaks, while cooperating with communists, should start a struggle against the ANM, having received in exchange the permission to return to Armenia. That is why Ter-Petrosyan demanded that Marukhanyan leave Armenia within 48 hours. The latter, with no objections, quickly left for Greece.

But that happened later and, for the time being, the Dashnaks and other foreign Armenian organizations started a real terror campaign against Turkish citizens in the 1970s and 80s and, at the same time, took part with the Palestinians in many events in the Middle East.

It is important to mention here that the Soviet Union, having revived Armenian terrorism in the 70s, later suffered from it itself. In 1967, inspired by the latest events in Armenia, young nationalistically spirited Armenians established an exclusive secret organization, The National Unity Party, which was headed by Paruir Hairikian and Stepan Zatikyan. They demanded that Nakhchivan, Nagorny Karabakh and the eastern districts of Turkey be ceded to Armenia. In 1974, the KGB arrested all of them. Zatikyan who was soon released, crossed from the moderate developed its activity and was very popular among Armenians. And on January 8, 1979, Zatikyan, along with Akop Stepanyan and Zaven Bagdasaryan, detonated a bomb in the Moscow subway. As a result, seven innocent people died and 37 were wounded (109). Two years later, all three terrorists were shot according to the verdict of the court.

Azerbaijan soon faced its first terrorist act: on 17 June 1984, a bomb exploded on regular bus 106 in Baku. As a result, a woman died and nine people were wounded. S. Vartanov, who was apprehended, later acknowledged that he had decided to take revenge on Azeris and, symbolically, on the Turks for the events of the distant 1915. The people of the republic perceived that as a terrorist act, as a barbarous and incomprehensible event. Moreover, the authorities, fearing interethnic complications, tried to smooth that event over. Two years later, as a result of sabotage, the Baku the Theater of Opera and Ballet, and the Exhibition Center for National Economic Achievements were burnt one after another. Although nobody suffered, there were serious losses. And although those sabotage actions clearly displayed an “Armenian trace,” and were again connected to the events of 1915, the authorities decided not to intensify the situation and again smoothed the event over.

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