Memories of Vladimir Tuayev about the events of January 1990 in Baku
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Sumgait 1988
Baku 1990
Maraghar 1992


Vladimir Tuayev (former address - city of Baku, Barinov Street, apt.9

I will start my story from the end, when I saw from the window of my apartment the troops entering the city. I realized that we had survived. At that moment the apartment was hosting me, my father, mother, brother, his wife who was Armenian, and my two-month-old niece. The most terrifying thing that still comes to my mind is the vision of beasts tearing at my niece. I have this nightmare up to day.
When all this was starting, I thought it wouldnít be so painful and terrible as it turned out to be. When the pogroms began, besides my brotherís wife and my niece, our neighbour also came to us and asked to hide her two children.
When I saw the crowd heading for us, the only thing I longed for was to be killed first. Recalling that night, it was extremely terrible to see and hear the mad crowd. That was vandalism, though it is perhaps too gentle a word. There were very many Armenian families in our neighbourhood; luckily many of them have managed to leave the city by that time. Our bodies shivered with every sound of steps and crack of broken doors. While recalling that horrible night Iíd like to mention that all of us were defenseless, we all were saved by chance and the Godís will. I looked out of the window and saw a 70-year old woman being dragged by the hair. My heart sank when I saw her face. She was my friendís grandmother who always treated me with fish cakes. She was lucky; her heart collapsed. She didnít witness all that horror that was happening in the yard. We were overwhelmed and scared by the feeling of being unprotected. When the crowd ran into our building we shut my nieceís mouth so that they didnít hear the babyís cry.
A Jewish family lived on the lower floor. My mother was on friendly terms with them and was worried about our neighbor, an elderly woman. Mom wanted to go down and see how she was. We didnít let her go, I went instead. I met them on the staircase. A whole book will not suffice to describe my feelings at that moment. Thank God, they passed by; they were visiting special addresses. When I came home I heard them break the door of our neighbours, whose girls were hiding at our place. When the girls understood their door was being broken they started to cry. Neither they nor we knew whether there was anybody in their apartment at that moment. A Russian women with her two daughters lived next door to us. At that moment I realized what a Russian character means. She went out to meet them and began to explain that all Armenians had gone away long ago. They didnít believe her. Or rather, half of them believed, the others did not. The latters took a radiator that lay between the storeys and began to break the door out. The door didnít yield for a while, but they managed to open it at last. Judging from the noise upstairs there was nobody in the apartment, and I felt deeply relieved. Having taken out everything they could they rushed to other houses.In the house nearby there lived a well-off Armenian woman. There was an armoured door in her apartment. They couldnít open it. However, seeing there were goods inside they could take out, they drove a hoisting crane to the house, and one of them climbed up to her apartment. Breaking into the apartment he listened to the tribe leader who ordered him to take out the videotape recorder. When asked, what a videotape recorder is, he answered Ė the thing beside the TV set. Three minutes later he looked out of the window with a TV transformer. The laughter in the street made him understand he had been mistaken: the TV transformer was thrown down. They took out anything that could be taken out of the apartment. Iím sure they didnít even know what most of the things were meant for. Leaving our yard, they headed to the others. After some while our neighbour took his daughters that were hiding at our place, and they left the city.

Finishing my story I understand that all that was comforting and inspiring my life is gone and will never come back.
Many years have passed. Itís very difficult for me to put up with the fact that Iíve lost my Baku I loved and cherished so much.
I hope no such thing will ever occur anywhere in the world. Let peace and happiness be with you.

Recorded by Kirill Bagirov for Sumgait.Info

Moscow, December 2003

Translated from original Russian version by Gayane Soghomonyan






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