21 June, Thursday

Petition of Oleg Kuznetsov to recognize genocide of Azerbaijanis in Khojaly: absolute quantitative record - Exclusive


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A month and a half has passed from the publication of  the petition adressed to Russian State Duma and the Federation Council prepared by the well-known Russian historian-Caucasian Oleg Kuznetsov about the recognition of the genocide committed against Azerbaijanis in Khojaly in 1992 from February 25 to 26 at the night. He is the author of numerous studies revealing the fraud of the Armenian history and the Armenian myth.

Oleg Kuznetsov gave an exclusive  interview to Eurasia Diary on the results of the petition, the difficult process of holding campaigns and famous personalities who signed up for the petition and their support.

Oleg Kuznetsov

Eurasia Diary: Oleg Yurievich, can you please tell in more details, how is the campaign to collect signatures going under the petition to recognize the Khojaly genocide?

Oleg Kuznetsov: Collecting signatures under the petition is difficult to predict, because the influence of the subjective factor is very strong in this case. To force a person to sign a petition is almost impossible, because he always does it voluntarily and consciously. All are equal in front of the interface of the site with the petition - the minister, the worker, or the housewife. One person, or one email address, makes one signature. This is exactly what all the mechanical stability of the electronic campaign for collecting signatures is all about, it neither can be circumvented nor broken.

On April 25, a campaign in support of my petition addressed to the deputies of the Federal Assembly of Russia demanding recognition of the genocide of Azerbaijanis in Khojaly, on February 25-26, 1992, overcame another psychologically important boundary. It was supported by 15,000 people. This is an absolute quantitative record for Russian-speaking auditory petitions in support of Azerbaijan's political demands posted on the Change.org website. We went to this summit for seven weeks, experiencing ups and downs, but nevertheless got to this point.

Eurasia Diary: What are the challenges you faced in the campaign?

Oleg Kuznetsov: From the very first day I publicly positioned my petition as an integral element of the information campaign "Justice for Khojaly", organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. Although I conceived the idea of ​​such a petition and first voiced it on February 22, during the memorial events in Ankara dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Khojaly tragedy, but I deliberately did not initiate the petition before The memorial events connected with the 25th anniversary of the tragedy in Khojaly. I did this when I realized that no one but me had thought of or wanted to become the initiator of such a case in Russia.

The petition was published by me at the time that was too unsuitable for it – on  March 6, two weeks before the celebration of Novruz Bayram in Azerbaijan, when practically no one works for ten days in your country. On the day of Novruz, on March 21, a milestone of 10,000 signatures was reached, but after that interest in the petition swiftly declined, and for several weeks during the day only a few dozen people joined it, causing the subsequent five thousand signatures to be collected for a whole month. But gradually the crisis in the collection of signatures was overcome, and the second wave of interest to the petition "Recognize the genocide of Azerbaijanis in Khojaly on February 25-26, 1992" began in Azerbaijan.

Eurasia Diary: Which influential people joined the petition and helped to advance your initiative?

Oleg Kuznetsov: It’s good that you focused on this issue, because I could not do this in Azerbaijan.The second wave of public interest and support for the petition has the specific names and surnames of its inspirers. These people are called Arif Rahimoglu - MP of the Milli Majlis, chairman of the regional policy committee, and Gunay Akbarova - advisor to the staff of this committee. It is very difficult for me, being in Moscow, to say which words they found, what resources they used, or what levers they pressed, but the fact remains - after a rather long time, when, again, the petition was signed by 20-30 People per day, the number of people joining the campaign is counted as hundreds per a day.

I do not want to disclose all the cards, but Arif Rahimzade and Gunay Akbarova are able to put the case of collecting signatures under a petition in Azerbaijan on a solid and well-organized basis, and thanks to their active activities, even more positive results should be expected, and in the very near future. I can say for the time being only one thing: we are preparing a series of activities of the organizational and coordination plan to turn the collection of signatures under the petition into a well-established mechanism.

To remind, Tthe Khojali massacre, also known as the Khojaly tragedy, was the murder of at least 161 ethnic Azerbaijani civilians from the city of Khojaly on February 25-26, 1992, by Armenian and partly armed forces of the CIS during the Nagorno-Karabakh war. According to the Azerbaijani side, as well as the Human Rights Center "Memorial", Human Rights Watch and other international observers, the massacre was carried out by the armed forces of ethnic Armenians, reportedly with the help of some servicemen of the 366th CIS Polk, apparently, not by order of the command. The number of deaths reported by the Azerbaijani authorities is 613 civilians, including 106 women and 63 children. This event became the largest mass in the course of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

To note, the petition stated that the order to commit the Khojaly genocide was given to the acting President of the Republic of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, who at that time was the chairman of the committee of self-defense forces, and the chief of staff of all illegal armed groups of the Armenian separatists of Nagorno-Karabakh.

You can sign the petition here.

Interviewed by Natalya Guliyeva

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