91MOSCOW13989, ARMENIA PURSUES INDEPENDENCE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
91MOSCOW13989 1991-05-21 16:40 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

O 211640Z MAY 91
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4008
INFO MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 13989 
 
 
E.O. 12356:  DECL:OADR 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR UR
SUBJECT:  ARMENIA PURSUES INDEPENDENCE 
 
REF:  A) MOSCOW 13898  B) MOSCOW 12972  C) MOSCOW 12373 
       D) 90 MOSCOW 30879  E) 90 MOSCOW 32942 
 
1.  CONFIDENTIAL  -- ENTIRE TEXT 
 
SUMMARY 
/------ 
 
2.  DURING A MAY 13-16 TRIP TO ARMENIA: 
 
--ARMENIAN OFFICIALS DESCRIBED THEIR PARTICIPATION IN 
DISCUSSIONS WITH THE OTHER FIVE REPUBLICS EXCLUDED FROM 
THE NINE-PLUS-ONE DECLARATION. 
 
--ARMENIAN SUPREME SOVIET CHAIRMAN TER-PETROSYAN 
(PROTECT) SAID ARMENIA INTENDED TO PURSUE INDEPENDENCE 
ACCORDING TO THE MECHANISMS STIPULATED BY SOVIET LAW. 
 
--THE RESIGNATION OF ARMENIAN COMMUNIST PARTY CHIEF 
POGOSYAN REFLECTED THE DISILLUSIONMENT OF ARMENIAN 
COMMUNISTS WITH THE CPSU. 
 
--TER-PETROSYAN DESCRIBED NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE SOVIET 
MILITARY TO ALLOW ARMENIAN CITIZENS TO SERVE ONLY IN 
ARMENIA. 
 
3.  THIS IS THE THIRD OF THREE REPORTS ON THE TRIP.  THE 
FIRST REPORT COVERED ARMENIA'S DISPUTE WITH AZERBAYDZHAN 
(REF A).  THE SECOND ANALYZED ARMENIA'S FOREIGN POLICY 
(SEPTEL).  END SUMMARY. 
 
 
THE SIX VERSUS THE NINE-PLUS-ONE 
/------------------------------- 
 
4.  DURING A CONVERSATION WITH POLOFFS, ARMENIAN SUPREME 
SOVIET CHAIRMAN LEVON TER-PETROSYAN STRESSED THAT THE 
APRIL 23 SO-CALLED NINE-PLUS-ONE DECLARATION WAS ONLY A 
TACTICAL AND PROPAGANDA STEP WITH NO REAL MEANING. 
TER-PETROSYAN SAID THAT KAZAKHSTAN PRESIDENT NAZARBAYEV 
HAD BROACHED THE IDEA ORIGINALLY IN COUNCIL OF THE 
FEDERATION MEETINGS EARLY THIS YEAR.  THE ARMENIAN LEADER 
SAID GORBACHEV NEEDED SUCH AN AGREEMENT GOING INTO THE 
COMMUNIST PARTY PLENUM AND YEL'TSIN, AT THAT POINT, 
NEEDED TO SHOW HE WAS WILLING TO COMPROMISE TO SAVE THE 
UNION.  TER-PETROSYAN ADDED THAT HE WAS ABSOLUTELY SURE 
THE REPUBLICS WOULD NOT SIGN THE LATEST UNION TREATY 
DRAFT. 
 
5.  TER-PETROSYAN OBSERVED THAT UKRAINE SPEARHEADED THE 
GROUP OF REPUBLICS WHICH PRESENTED THE GREATEST CHALLENGE 
TO THE CENTER.  TER-PETROSYAN INDICATED THAT DURING THE 
COUNCIL OF THE FEDERATION MEETINGS, UKRAINIAN LEADER 
KRAVCHUK WAS THE MOST ADAMANT ABOUT REDUCING THE CENTER'S 
POWERS VIS-A-VIS THE CENTER.  BECAUSE UKRAINE IS A VERY 
RICH AND POWERFUL REPUBLIC, KRAVCHUK IS SURE TO HAVE A 
MAJOR INFLUENCE ON THE FUTURE DIRECTION OF THE UNION 
TREATY NEGOTIATIONS, ACCORDING TO TER-PETROSYAN. 
 
6.  TER-PETROSYAN TOLD POLOFFS THAT SIX MONTHS AGO, 
MOLDAVIAN PRESIDENT MIRCHA SNEGUR INTRODUCED A PLAN FOR 
COOPERATION AMONG THE SIX REPUBLICS WHICH HAD NO 
INTENTION OF SIGNING THE UNION TREATY.  THESE INCLUDE THE 
THREE BALTIC REPUBLICS, GEORGIA, MOLDOVA, AND ARMENIA. 
AT THAT TIME THESE REPUBLICS HAD A STRONG SENSE THAT THE 
CENTER WOULD IMPLEMENT PUNITIVE MEASURES TO KEEP THEM IN 
THE UNION.  ARMENIAN SUPREME SOVIET FOREIGN AFFAIRS 
COMMITTEE MEMBER HOVANES IGITYAN (PROTECT) HAD JUST 
RETURNED FROM A TRIP TO MOLDOVA AND WAS PREPARING TO 
LEAVE FOR THE BALTICS THE NEXT DAY TO CONTINUE THESE 
DISCUSSIONS.  IGITYAN IS THE WORKING-LEVEL ARMENIAN 
REPRESENTATIVE IN THE FORMULATION OF COUNTERMEASURES TO 
ANY KIND OF ECONOMIC PRESSURE THE NINE MAY TRY TO INFLICT 
ON THESE SIX REPUBLICS. 
 
7.  IGITYAN INDICATED THAT THESE DISCUSSIONS HAD BECOME 
MORE FREQUENT SINCE THE APRIL 23 SIGNING OF THE 
NINE-PLUS-ONE DECLARATION.  HE ADDED THAT THE LEADERS OF 
THE SIX REPUBLICS HAD NOT YET MET BECAUSE THEY HAVE BEEN 
BUSY WITH THEIR OWN PROBLEMS IN THEIR RESPECTIVE 
REPUBLICS.  (COMMENT:  BALTIC CONTACTS HAVE TOLD US THAT 
BALTIC LEADERS ARE WARY OF ANY TYPE OF FORMAL AGREEMENT 
AMONG THE SIX BECAUSE THEY DO NOT WISH TO DILUTE THEIR 
ARGUMENTS FOR INDEPENDENCE BY INCLUDING REPUBLICS WHOSE 
INCORPORATION IS ACCEPTED BY THE WEST.  END COMMENT.) 
 
8.  TER-PETROSYAN MAINTAINED THAT ANY KIND OF ECONOMIC 
SANCTIONS AGAINST THE SIX REPUBLICS WOULD BE VERY 
DIFFICULT TO CARRY OUT BECAUSE OF THE NATURE OF THE 
SOVIET ECONOMIC SYSTEM.  HE ASSERTED THAT THE CLOSE 
ECONOMIC INTEGRATION OF THE REPUBLICS WOULD MAKE IT VERY 
HARD FOR THE CENTER OR THE NINE REPUBLICS TO TAKE ACTION 
WITHOUT SUFFERING RETALIATION.  THUS, HE CONCLUDED THAT 
SUCH ECONOMIC PRESSURE WOULD BACKFIRE ON THE CENTER. 
 
 
 
A LEGAL PATH TO INDEPENDENCE 
/--------------------------- 
 
9.  TER-PETROSYAN OUTLINED FOR POLOFFS HIS VISION OF THE 
PATH TO ARMENIA'S INDEPENDENCE.  FIRST, ARMENIA INTENDED 
TO FOLLOW THE USSR SUPREME SOVIET LAW ON SECESSION.  THIS 
PROCESS WILL BEGIN WITH THE SEPTEMBER 21 REPUBLIC 
REFERENDUM ON INDEPENDENCE.  SOON AFTER, ARMENIAN 
OFFICIALS PLAN TO HOLD REPUBLIC ELECTIONS.  AFTER THE 
ELECTIONS, THE NEW REPUBLIC SUPREME SOVIET WILL DRAFT A 
NEW CONSTITUTION.  FINALLY, THE REPUBLIC WILL COMPLETE 
THE FINAL STAGES FOR COMPLETE INDEPENDENCE FROM THE 
SOVIET UNION.  TER-PETROSYAN AND ARMENIAN SUPREME SOVIET 
FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMISSION CHAIRMAN VARDANIYAN 
(PROTECT) COULD NOT GIVE A SPECIFIC TIME FRAME AND 
INDICATED THAT THE PROCESS COULD TAKE A LONG TIME. 
TER-PETROSYAN MAINTAINED THAT ARMENIA'S CHOICE TO FOLLOW 
THE LEGAL ROUTE TO INDEPENDENCE HAD UPSET THE CENTER AND 
THEREFORE THE CENTER EXACERBATED THE 
ARMENIAN-AZERBAYDZHANI DISPUTE (REF A). 
 
 
ARMENIAN COMMUNISTS DISILLUSIONED 
/----
---------------------------- 
 
10.  ACCORDING TO SEVERAL ARMENIAN COMMUNIST PARTY AND 
GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, ARMENIAN COMMUNIST PARTY CHIEF 
STEFAN POGOSYAN RESIGNED ON MAY 13 BECAUSE HE REFUSED TO 
COLLUDE WITH THE CENTER AGAINST THE ARMENIANS.  LOCAL 
GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL SERZHIK DOVLADBEGYAN (PROTECT) TOLD 
POLOFFS POGOSYAN HAD RESIGNED BECAUSE HE HAD BEEN ASKED 
TO FORM A NATIONAL SALVATION COMMITTEE IN ARMENIA TO WORK 
AGAINST THE ARMENIAN INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT.  KAMU 
KOCHARYAN (PROTECT), ANOTHER LOCAL OFFICIAL, SAID 
POGOSYAN RESIGNED BECAUSE "HE DID NOT WANT TO BETRAY HIS 
PEOPLE."  OTHER OFFICIALS TOLD US THE LAST STRAW FOR 
POGOSYAN WAS WHEN HE ASKED GORBACHEV FOR A MEETING TO 
DISCUSS THE DEPORTATION OF GETASHEN AND MARTUNASHEN (REF 
A) AND WAS REFUSED. 
 
11.  DZHEMA ANANYAN (PROTECT), FORMERLY A VERY ACTIVE 
ARMENIAN COMMUNIST PARTY ACTIVIST AND MEMBER OF THE USSR 
CPSU CONTROL COMMISSION, EMBODIED THE BITTERNESS LOCAL 
COMMUNISTS FEEL TOWARD THE CPSU AND THE CENTER.  RUBEN 
SHUGAROV (PROTECT), AN ARMENIAN SUPREME SOVIET STAFFER, 
TOLD POLOFFS THAT ANANYAN HAD BEEN A STRONG COMMUNIST 
PARTY STALWART IN ARMENIA AND HAS SPENT MOST OF HER 
CAREER ESPOUSING COMMUNIST PARTY IDEOLOGY AND IDEALS. 
12.  WHEN POLOFFS MET ANANYAN ON MAY 15 IN HER OFFICE IN 
THE ARMENIAN BORDER CITY OF IDZHEVAN, SHE EXUDED 
BITTERNESS AND DISGUST TOWARD THE CENTER AND THE CPSU. 
SHE ACCUSED THE CENTER OF CONDUCTING "A CAMPAIGN OF STATE 
TERROR AGAINST THE ARMENIANS."  SHE ADDED, "I HAVE BEEN A 
LOYAL AND DEDICATED COMMUNIST PARTY OFFICIAL FOR 40 YEARS 
AND THIS IS HOW THEY TREAT US|"  SHE SHOWED POLOFFS A 
COPY OF HER PUBLISHED STATEMENT IN WHICH SHE RESIGNED 
FROM THE CPSU CONTROL COMMISSION AND AIRED HER DISGUST 
WITH THE CENTER'S SUPPORT OF AZERBAYDZHAN AND THE 
SHELLING OF VILLAGES ALONG THE ARMENIAN-AZERBAYDZHANI 
BORDER.  SHE ALSO REFLECTED THAT "IT IS STRANGE THAT THEY 
WOULD GIVE THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE TO A MAN WHO WOULD 
CONDUCT THIS KIND OF TERROR CAMPAIGN." 
 
ARMENIAN DRAFTEES TO SERVE ONLY IN ARMENIA? 
/------------------------------------------ 
 
13.  TER-PETROSYAN SAID ARMENIAN OFFICIALS ARE ENGAGED IN 
NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE SOVIET ARMY OVER THE STATUS OF 
ARMENIA'S DRAFTEES AND WHERE THEY WILL SERVE.  ACCORDING 
TO THE DRAFT AGREEMENT WITH THE SOVIET ARMY, ARMENIA 
WOULD CONCLUDE ITS OWN AGREEMENTS WITH OTHER REPUBLICS 
ABOUT WHERE SOLDIERS WOULD SERVE.  TER-PETROSYAN SAID 
THEY WERE IN THE PROCESS OF CONCLUDING SUCH AN AGREEMENT 
WITH LITHUANIA, FOR EXAMPLE.  THE ARMENIAN LEADER SAID 
THE PLAN HAS THE BLESSING OF USSR DEFENSE MINISTER YAZOV 
AND ONE OF HIS DEPUTIES, WHO HAS JUST BEEN IN ARMENIA TO 
FINALIZE THE AGREEMENT.  TER-PETROSYAN SAID THAT ARMENIA 
WAS PARTICULARLY ANXIOUS TO SETTLE THIS ISSUE, 
PARTICULARLY GIVEN THEIR HISTORICAL EXPERIENCE WITH 
RUSSIAN TROOPS.  HE SAID THAT IN 1918 AND 1942, RUSSIAN 
SOLDIERS HAD ABANDONED ARMENIA TO THE ENEMY AND HAD NOT 
DEFENDED THE REPUBLIC AGAINST HOSTILE FORCES.  "WITH OUR 
OWN PART OF THE ARMY STAFFED BY ARMENIANS, THIS WOULD NOT 
HAPPEN," HE SAID. 
 
14.  TER-PETROSAN ALSO TOLD POLOFFS THAT THE ARMENIAN 
SUPREME SOVIET HAD RECENTLY CREATED AN EXECUTIVE BRANCH 
DEFENSE COMMISSION, WHICH WOULD COORDINATE THE ACTIVITIES 
OF SOVIET ARMY, USSR MVD, ARMENIAN MVD, CIVIL DEFENSE, 
VOLUNTARY ORGANIZATION FOR THE SUPPORT OF THE ARMY AND 
AIR FORCE (DOSAAF), AND KGB TROOPS IN ARMENIA. 
TER-PETROSYAN SAID HIS GOALS WERE TO ELIMINATE ILLEGAL 
PARAMILITARY GROUPS, TO STRENGTHEN THE MILITIA, AND 
PROTECT THE REPUBLIC'S BORDERS. 
 
 
COLLINS

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