After the open assertion by Armenia in the late 1980s of its territorial claims on Azerbaijan and the launching of armed operations in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Armenian terrorism became significantly more active and such well-known terrorist organizations as the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia, the Commandos of Justice of the Armenian Genocide and the Armenian Revolutionary Army transferred the centre of their activities from the Middle East, Western Europe and North America to the territory of the former USSR.
In all, as a result of terrorist acts against Azerbaijan carried out since the late 1980s by the Armenian secret service and Armenian terrorist organizations closely connected with it, including terrorist acts on road, rail, sea and air transport and ground communications, over 2,000 citizens of Azerbaijan have been killed, the majority of them women, the elderly and children.
It is notable that the first entry in the tragic list of crimes by Armenian terrorists in the territory of Azerbaijan was made before the beginning of the conflict, in 1984, when, in Baku, a passenger bus on the â„– 106 route was blown up, killing one woman - mother of two children - and injuring several other people. The identified terrorist responsible for that crime was an Armenian named Vartanov.
In early 1988, terrorism in Armenia was raised to the status of State policy and its target was the territory of Azerbaijan. Weapons and ammunition were transported on a large scale from Armenia to the NKAO and into the hands of underground terrorist groups in other parts of the territory of Azerbaijan. In 1988 alone, more than 100 instances of the illegal manufacture and the theft of firearms were uncovered by the law enforcement agencies of Azerbaijan. During the same year, Armenians carried out 32 terrorist acts in NKAO and in districts on the frontier with Armenia, the victims of which were primarily civilians.
In December 1988, a military transport aircraft on the Baku-Yerevan route with rescue-workers and humanitarian aid for victims of the Armenian earthquake on board suffered a disaster near Yerevan in circumstances which remain unexplained. Some versions speak of firing, and others of the deliberate disorientation of the pilot by air traffic control at Yerevan airport (in view of the low altitude of the flight and the mountainous terrain) or the placing of a bomb on board. The underlying motive for this planned “air disaster” is completely unprecedented, in that the victims of this crime were 79 people who had been sent on a humanitarian mission from Azerbaijan to Armenia, despite the difficulties that had by then arisen in relations between the two republics.
On 27 May 1989, on a train from Yerevan to Baku, an Armenian citizen, V.Minasyan, was arrested and found to be in possession of an explosive device. In her statement she confessed that she had been intending to carry out an act of sabotage in Baku. The first attempt to carry out the plans did not succeed, but on 24 July 1989 there was an explosion on a train of Azerbaijan railways at Karchevan station.
On 7 October 1989, the road bridge across the river Khalfalichai on the southern edge of the town of Khankandi, was blown up. On 29 April 1992, the perpetrator of this terrorist act - one A.Abramyan - was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Over the period from 19 January to 17 February 1990, a terrorist group based in Yerevan carried out numerous raids from the territory of Armenia on the innocent inhabitants of frontier villages in the Gazakh district of Azerbaijan, resulting in the deaths of inhabitants and shepherds of the Kheyrymly and Sofulu villages. The same terrorist group carried out an attack on a patrol vehicle of the Gazakh district division of internal affairs and plotted the destruction of a railway locomotive. Two members of the group, L.Arutyunyan and A.Mkrtchyan, detained by the law enforcement agencies of Azerbaijan, were sentenced by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan to five and six years’ imprisonment respectively.
On 18 February 1990, 13 people were injured by an explosion in an inter-city bus on the Shusha- Baku line, at the 105 km marker on the Yevlakh-Lachyn road.
On 4 March 1990, Armenian terrorists blew up the Nabiyar-Shusha pipeline, which supplied the town of Shusha with its drinking water.
On 11 July 1990, between the settlements of Getavan and Charaktar in the Mardakert district of Azerbaijan, an armed assault was launched on a road convoy, traveling under troop escort and conveying people and goods to the town of Kalbajar. In that terrorist act, three people were killed and 23 injured. On 19 June 1992, the individual identified during the investigation as the perpetrator of this crime, one A.Airiyan, was sentenced by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan to death by firing squad.
On 10 August 1990, in the Khanlar district of Azerbaijan, Armenian terrorists blew up an intercity bus operating on the Tbilisi-Aghdam route, killing 20 passengers and injuring 30. The perpetrators of that terrorist act were arrested before they were able to carry out their plan to blow up, on 17 June 1991, a bus on the Aghdam-Tbilisi route. The Supreme Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan found A.Avanesyan and M.Tatevosyan guilty of those crimes and sentenced them to death by firing squad and 15 years’ imprisonment respectively.
In November 1990, a terrorist group, set up by one M.Grigoryan, a member of the terrorist organization Ergraparkh, based in the territory of Armenia, and composed of inhabitants of the Echmiadzin district of Armenia, was sent into the territory of Azerbaijan. This group was disarmed by the law enforcement agencies of Azerbaijan while attempting to carry out acts of terrorism and sabotage. By its decision of 18 June 1991, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan handed down the following prison sentences on the members of the group: T.Khachatryan - nine years, Z.Oganyan - eight years and A.Grigoryan - seven years.
On 9 January 1991, at the 5 km marker on the Lachyn-Shusha road in the area of Galadarasi village, Armenian terrorists fired on a UAZ-469 vehicle belonging to military unit â„– 44688 of the city of Ganja, killing the driver, Sergeant I.I.Goek, the commander of the reconnaissance battalion, Lieutenant Colonel A.P.Larionov, the chief of staff in the commandant’s office of military unit â„– 3505 (the command centre for the special units of the interior forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR), Major I.D.Ivanov, and a journalist from the newspaper Molodezh Azerbaidzhana - Ms. S.A.Asgarova, born 1969, who left an orphaned infant son. On 23 March 1993, the perpetrators of this crime - A.Mkrtchyan, G.Petrosyan, A.Mangasaryan, G.Arutyunyan and G.Arustamyan, who, in addition to the case in question, had been responsible for other acts of terrorism and murders - were sentenced by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan to death by firing squad, and other members of the terrorist group to prison sentences of varying lengths.
On 30 May 1991, 11 people were killed and 22 injured following an explosion on a passenger train from Moscow to Baku near Khasavyurt station (Dagestan, Russian Federation).
In May 1991, officials of the law enforcement agencies arrested S.Aznaryan, an inhabitant of the Noemberyan district of Armenia, in a Baku-Tbilisi train at Shamkir station and removed from his possession two mines, a sub-machine-gun and maps of the Azerbaijan rail and road network. On 31 July 1991, a Moscow-Baku passenger train was blown up near Temirgau station (Dagestan, Russian Federation), killing 16 people and injuring 20.
The law enforcement agencies of Azerbaijan detained and disarmed two members of the Armenia-based terrorist organization Urartu, A.Tatevosyan and V.Petrosyan, who, on 2 August 1991, had carried out an armed attack on inhabitants of the Kalbajar district of Azerbaijan. The terrorists were sentenced by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan to ten and eight years’ imprisonment respectively.
On 20 November 1991, Mi-8 helicopter carrying a group of peace-enforcement representatives from Russia, Kazakhstan and the senior Azerbaijani leadership was shot down near the village of Garakand in the Khojavand district of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The killing of 22 people, including statesmen from three countries, effectively put an end to the first attempt to settle the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict and prompted an escalation of violence in the region.
The single successful terrorist act carried out by Armenian terrorists against vessels of the Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Line occurred on 8 January 1992. An explosion on the ferry “Sovetskaya Kalmykia” operating between Krasnovodsk and Baku claimed the lives of 25 people and injured 88. The same year an attempt to carry an explosive device on to the steamer “Sabit Orujov” was prevented in time.
On 28 January 1992, a civilian helicopter flying on the Aghdam-Shusha route was shot down by Armenian terrorists over the Azerbaijani town of Shusha, killing 41 passengers, most of them women and children, as well as the crew.
On 28 February 1993, 11 people were killed and 18 injured near Gudermes station (Dagestan, Russian Federation) by a bomb placed in a Baku-Kislovodsk train.
On 2 June 1993, a passenger carriage was blown up in a siding at Baku railway station. On 22 July 1994, I.Khatkovskiy, a Russian national and correspondent for the newspaper Demokratichesky Tilzit, resident of the village of Gastelovo in the Slavsky District of the Kaliningrad region of the Russian Federation, was found guilty of committing this crime and sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The investigation process revealed that I.Khatkovsky was recruited by the intelligence service of the Directorate for National Security (the former KGB) of Armenia and provided with detailed instructions on how to organize the bombing of transportation facilities, communications and vital services in Azerbaijan, gather intelligence information and commit terrorist acts in the territory of the Russian Federation.
On 1 February 1994, a Kislovodsk-Baku passenger train was blown up at Baku station, killing 3 people and injuring more than twenty.
On 9 April 1994, a railway car was blown up at Khudat station.
On 17 March 1994, an Iranian C-130 transport aircraft was shot down in Azerbaijani airspace over Azerbaijani territory occupied by Armenian armed forces, resulting in the deaths of 32 people who were citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
On 19 March 1994, a bomb placed in one of the carriages of a train by Armenian terrorists exploded an underground railway station in Baku. As a result of this act, 14 people were left lying lifeless and 42 were injured, some seriously. Only thanks to the alertness of the railway staff who on 26 March 1994 found an explosive device in a railway carriage at Gazymammad station of Azerbaijan Railways was another tragedy averted.
Six people were killed and three wounded at Dagestanskiye Ogni station (Russian Federation) on 13 April 1994 as a result of an explosion on a Moscow-Baku passenger train.
On 3 July 1994, there was an explosion on a train between the 28 May and Ganjlik underground stations, killing 14 people and wounding 54.