Azerbaijani, Armenian leaders disagree on evaluation of WWII
ASHGABAT. Oct 11 (Interfax) - Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan have argued about the interpretation of World War II events at a session of the Council of CIS Heads of State.
In his speech Aliyev recalled the role of the Azerbaijani people during the war. He also said that CIS leaders have spoken against the glorification of Nazis many times.
"Unfortunately, such things happen in the CIS, namely, in Armenia where the previous government erected a monument in the center of Yerevan to the Nazi butcher and traitor Garegin Ter-Harutyunyan who served the Nazis as Garegin Nzhdeh," Aliyev said.
He also quoted a Russian Foreign Ministry report issued in May on glorification of Nazism that said there is information that Nzhdeh collaborated with the Nazis. Aliyev said that Nzhdeh was later arrested by the Soviet authorities and died in Vladimir Prison.
"Unfortunately, the new authorities in Armenia have not dismantled the monument. I think that glorification of Nazism is out of place within the CIS," he said.
Pashinyan took the floor after Aliyev. The Armenian prime minister also spoke of the contribution of his people to the victory over Nazis, noting that Armenians took part in the European Resistance movement as well as fighting in the ranks of the Soviet army.
"We support any constructive steps directed at the objective coverage of historical events of those times and are opposed to attempts at their subjective interpretation. Unfortunately, we saw such attempts in the speech of Ilham Aliyev," Pashinyan said.
"One gets the impression that in that war Hitler played a secondary role while Garegin Nzhdeh was the leader of the Nazi movement," he said.
Pashinyan said that the truth is that Nzhdeh fought against the Turkish occupation of Armenia and against the genocide of Armenians. "They said that Garegin Nzhdeh died in Vladimir Prison. Many Soviet figures died in Vladimir Prison," he said. In this connection, he asked whether everyone purged in the 1930-1950s should be regarded as enemies of the people.
"I find it wrong to use this format to distort history and add a certain tension to the atmosphere of this quite important meeting," Pashinyan said.
"I think that at summits we should do our utmost for the tension between our nations and countries to decline, not grow. We should find ways toward dialogue, compromise, mutual confidence, and respect. I find that the words of the president of Azerbaijan lack respect for the Armenian people, in the first place. And I believe they lack respect for the heads of state and nations that they represent here," he said.
The summit was expected to work out a message to the nations of CIS states and the global public meant to demonstrate a unanimous opinion of CIS countries regarding the decisive role of the USSR in routing Nazi Germany and a common understanding of the impermissibility of trying to revise history and glorify Nazism.