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