The events that followed a February 11, 1988 session in the Azerbaijani Autonomous Oblast of Nagorno Karabakh (NKAO) would come to be defined as the birth of the movement that led to war and independence. The prominent individuals involved in the meeting were Azerbaijan’s Central Committee’s Third Secretary Vasili Konovalov and Nagorno Karabakh’s Regional Committee’s First Secretary Boris Kevorkov, both members of the Communist Party.
During the session, it was decided that meetings will be organized the following day, on February 12, with various party officials and financial leaders in the NKAO regions of Hadrut, Askeran, Martuni, Martakert, and Stepanakert. The aim would be to come up with mechanisms to punish and stop activities aimed at unifying NKAO with Soviet Armenia.
On February 12, a protest broke out in the town of Askeran in front of the regional committee building. The following day, few hundred people from Askeran marched to Stepanakert where they were joined by a few hundred more. The next day, thousands of people demonstrated in the center of Stepanakert. Photographer Valeri Petrosyan captured the day’s events.
CivilNet’s Tatul Hakobyan, Ani Grigoryan, Armen Mkryan, and Gevorg Haroyan were in Askeran.
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