The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict did not have a simple solution during the Soviet period and does not have one now, first president of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev said in a fresh article published on Monday, August 2.
“Under [Joseph] Stalin, the multinational state began to shift into a rigid super-centralized unitary system. The center decided and controlled everything. In addition, Stalin and his associates cut the borders arbitrarily, as if expecting that no one could even imagine themselves outside the Union. National issues were pushed deep down, but they did not go anywhere. Acute problems were hidden behind the façade of “the rapprochement of the Soviet peoples”, with no one even looking for solutions. Stalin took any national claims and interethnic disputes as anti-Soviet and suppressed them without wasting time on admonitions,” Gorbachev wrote.
“I must admit that at first we underestimated the scale and severity of the problem. But when it arose, we could not resort to old methods of suppression and prohibitions. We believed that we had to take a different path, look for thoughtful and balanced approaches, and use methods of persuasion.”
According to Gorbachev, the conflict has long-standing roots,
“It did not have a simple solution then and does not have one now, although they tried to convince me that it could be achieved by redrawing the borders. The country’s leadership had a unanimous opinion: this is unacceptable,” the former Societ leader said.
He noted that he believed back then that reaching an agreement on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh was the business of Armenians and Azerbaijanis, and the role of the union was to help them in normalizing the situation, in particular in solving economic problems.