STEPANAKERT (A.W.)—Around 1,200 members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun (ARF-D) joined high-level officials and citizens in Nagorno-Karabagh (Artsakh) on Feb. 27 to commemorate the 27th anniversary of the Sumgait anti-Armenian pogroms, which took place in 1988.
More than 1,000 ARF-D members traveled from Armenia to Artsakh to participate in the commemoration events, carrying a message of solidarity.
Artsakh President Bako Sahagyan, Speaker of the National Assembly Ashot Ghulyan, high-level officials, and clergy—including Primate of the Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan—visited the Sumgait Memorial site in Stepanakert, where they laid flowers. ARF-D Bureau Chairman Hrant Markarian led the visiting party members in the commemoration events, reported YerkirMedia.
Sahagyan met with the ARF-D representatives and a delegation of Artsakh War veterans from Armenia, as well as members of Armenia’s National Assembly.
Speaking with the Armenian Weekly on Feb. 25, ARF-D Bureau member Giro Manoyan said the purpose of the visit was to express support for Artsakh. “The visits to the military units and outposts are aimed at bringing attention to the constant ceasefire violations by Azerbaijan and expressing support to our soldiers who are defending the borders and the line of contact. The meetings with the Republic of Artsakh leadership are also to express support to Artsakh,” said Manoyan.
2014 was the bloodiest year in the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict since the 1990’s, with 39 Azerbaijanis and 33 Armenians killed. By comparison, the previous worst year on record, 2012, saw 14 Armenian and 20 Azerbaijani soldiers killed.
This year marks the 27th anniversary of the deadly pogroms of Sumgait, which took place on Feb. 27, 1988. The pogroms are considered the beginning of a systematic campaign by Azerbaijan’s OMON Special Forces to use mass violence to uproot Armenians from Azerbaijan and Karabagh. The Sumgait tragedy and its violent repetitions throughout the country between 1988-91 led to the disappearance of 450,000 Armenians living in the long-established Armenian community of Azerbaijan.