If Two Sheep Fight, What is the Role of Ivan? – Baku Pogroms – January 13, 1990

If Two Sheep Fight, What is the Role of IvanFor an entire week, the Soviet media and television have been reporting on the pogroms in Baku. The media coverage pursued to prepare the public opinion both at home and abroad to remove the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan from power.

During the preparation of troops, the Soviets also began to recruit reservists in the Stavropol region and the Kuban. On January 21, 1990, a day after the Soviet troops entered Baku and a week after the beginning of the pogroms, Gorbachev’s closest aide Chernyaev wrote in his diary:

“The situation in Lithuania and the events in Azerbaijan caused demonstrations in Krasnodar, Stavropol, Rostov-on-Don, Tuapse, and in the villages of the North Caucasus, where Yazov (idiot) ordered to recruit reservists. This caused a wave of protests: “No to new Afghanistan!” “Why do the Russian men have to die because of these Armenians and Azerbaijanis, let them figure it out, they are speculating in our markets at this time…” And so on.

So, under the influence of all of this, I remembered Astafyev-Rasputin’s “concept” (besides, I read V. Solovyov’s “The Russian Question”) and began to think that the multinational problem of the USSR can only be solved through the “Russian question.”

Let Russia leave the USSR and let the rest “be as they want.”

Below is a photo from the Krasnodar rally. January 18, 1990, Krasnodar © Photo by Vladislav Amerkhanov

The poster on the left says: “If two sheep fight, what is the role of Ivan?”

This formula can express the attitude of the overwhelming majority of Soviet citizens towards the January pogroms. And this attitude is meaningless to evaluate from the point of view of morality. This must be taken as a fact, as the law of the world.

Karen Aghekian



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