American-Armenian writer Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte presented a book about the pogroms of Armenians in Baku. The presentation of the Russian edition of the author’s book “Nowhere, a Story of Exile” was held in Yerevan in 2017.
The book is based on the memoirs of the writer herself. Mainly, they are based around the pogroms of Armenians in Baku in 1988-1992. In 1989, when Astvatsaturian Turcotte was 11, her family managed to escape and flee to the United States.
The book describes real events – the violence of Azerbaijanis against local Armenians and the pogroms that changed the lives of many people.
“In 1992, our family moved to the US. We flew there with a few suitcases, in despair and with the hope that this country would shelter and protect us. The first months in America passed in some confusion,” Astvatsaturian Turcotte said.
According to her, in order to convey all these events, she began to translate her diary from Russian into English. In a couple of years, an impressive stack of handwritten lists of memories would accumulate.
“I laid out the past events in chronological order. Having become a mother, I realized that the work I had done pursued two goals.
This is a chronicle of a teenager’s memory of a series of tragic events in the life of the Armenian people viewed through the prism of one family, our family. In addition, it is a way to overcome grief,” said the author of the book.
Astvatsaturian Turcotte also said that she wrote the book so that her children could familiarize themselves with the real history of Armenians in Azerbaijan. The work was first published in English in 2012 and quickly became popular in the United States.
“Then, the book was translated into Russian so that the Russian-speaking audience could also get acquainted with it,” Astvatsaturian Turcotte said.
On February 26-29, 1988, with the support of the Azerbaijani authorities and with the silent connivance of the leadership of the USSR, mass pogroms of Armenians took place in Sumgait, during which, according to official figures, 32 Armenians were killed and hundreds were injured. 14 thousand Armenians of Sumgait left the city in a matter of days.
The pogroms of the Armenian population were carried out in other cities of Azerbaijan and, in particular, in Baku in January 1990. As a result, according to the data of the State Migration Service of Armenia, in 1988-1992, more than 360 thousand Armenian refugees from various cities of Azerbaijan arrived in Armenia, and about 140 thousand ethnic Armenians migrated to other countries.