Cultural figures of the Armenian SSR extremely rarely visited Karabakh, especially in the decades preceding the collapse of the USSR. Prior to this, one of the rare exceptions was famous Armenian poet Avetik Isahakyan’s trip to Karabakh in July 1948.
The master was heavily impressed by what he saw, as evidenced by the short entries in his notebook. We offer their fragments to the reader:
“When I inquired local women, they started to cry. List their losses. There is no home in Karabakh where there would be no casualties. There are families where 3-4 sons were killed. Simply everything was squeezed out from the people.
Karabakh is completely cut off from Armenia: it has neither newspapers nor books. There are no textbooks in Armenian. Baku does not print any. Is this a consequence of heartlessness or a system policy?
The autonomy of Nagorno-Karabakh is a fiction. It is fully and completely subordinate to Baku. Stepanakert does not print a single book in Armenian. One pathetic newspaper. The local youth is boiling and wants to speak, but there are no opportunities. One guy said, ‘We do not have a dais.’
Kirovabad is a lost part of Armenianship. An Armenian quarter on the outskirts. And Stepanakert is a submissive, fictitious autonomy under the heel of Baku.”