Images captured from a videotape show burnt automobiles and the massive throngs of rioters on the streets of Sumgait.
|Location||Sumgait, Azerbaijan, Soviet Union|
|Date||February 26 – March 1, 1988|
|Target||Local Armenian population|
|Murder, rape, riot|
|Deaths||32 (official date)
200+ (Armenian sources)
The Sumgait pogrom (Armenian: Սումգայիթի ջարդեր, Sumgayit'i ĵarder lit.: "Sumgait massacres"; Azerbaijani: Sumqayıt hadisələri lit.: "Sumgait events") was a pogrom that targeted the Armenian population of the seaside town of Sumgait in Azerbaijan in late February 1988. The pogrom took place during the early stages of the Karabakh movement. On February 27, 1988, mobs made up of ethnic Azerbaijanis formed into groups and attacked and killed Armenians on the streets and in their apartments; widespread looting and a general lack of concern from police officers allowed the situation to continue for three days.
On February 28, a small contingent of Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) troops entered the city and unsuccessfully attempted to quell the rioting. More professional military units entered with tanks and armored personnel vehicles one day later. Government forces imposed a state of martial law and curfew and brought the crisis to an end. The official death toll released by the Prosecutor General of the USSR (tallies were compiled based on lists of named victims) was 32 people (26 Armenians and 6 Azerbaijanis), although some have revised this figure up into the hundreds.
The civil violence in Sumgait was unprecedented in scope and was widely covered in the Western press. It was greeted with general astonishment in Armenia and the rest of the Soviet Union since ethnic feuds in the country were largely suppressed by the government, which had promoted policies such as internationalism, fraternity of peoples, and socialist patriotism to avert such conflicts. The massacre, together with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, presented a major challenge to the reforms being implemented by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Gorbachev was later criticized for his perceived slowness in reacting to the crisis.
Because of the scale of atrocities against the Armenians as an ethnic group the pogrom was immediately linked to the Armenian Genocide of 1915 in the Armenian national consciousness. A number of international and Soviet sources also describes the events as genocide of the Armenian population. Sumgait pogrom is commemorated every year on February 28 in Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and the Armenian diaspora.
The Sumgait pogrom is largely considered to be a response of Azerbaijan to the peaceful demands of Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians to secede from Soviet Azerbaijan and join Soviet Armenia. The Sumgait events marked the beginning of the violent stage of the conflict.
- 1 Background
- 2 Pogrom and atrocities
- 3 Government reaction
- 4 Aftermath
- 5 Criminal proceedings
- 6 Reactions
- 7 Conspiracy theories
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 External links
The city of Sumgait is located near the coast of the Caspian Sea, only thirty kilometers north of the capital Baku. It had been renovated in the 1960s and had become a leading industrial city, second after Baku by its industrial importance, with oil refineries and petrochemical plants built during that era. Its population in the 1960s stood at 60,000, but by the late 1980s it had swollen to over 223,000 (with an Armenian population of about 17,000), and overcrowding among other social problems plagued the city. While there was a high rate of unemployment and poverty among the Azerbaijani residents, the Armenians comprised mainly the working and educated sector of the town's population.
The political and economic reforms that General Secretary Gorbachev had initiated in 1985 saw a marked decentralization of Soviet authority. Armenians, in both Armenia proper and Nagorno-Karabakh, viewed Gorbachev's reform program as an opportunity to unite the two entities together. On February 20, 1988, tens of thousands of Armenians gathered to demonstrate in Stepanakert's Lenin (now Renaissance) Square to demand that the region be joined to Armenia. On the same day, the Supreme Soviet of Nagorno-Karabakh voted to join the Armenian SSR, a move staunchly opposed by the Soviet Azerbaijani authorities. Gorbachev rejected these claims, invoking Article 78 of the Soviet Constitution, which stated that republics' borders could not be altered without their prior consent. The vote by the Council and the subsequent protests were condemned also by the state-run Soviet media; however, they resonated more loudly among Azerbaijanis. As journalist Thomas de Waal wrote in his 2003 book on the conflict, after the appeal of the Council "the slow descent into armed conﬂict began on the ﬁrst day."
Rallies and fuelling of anti-Armenian sentiments
The rallies in Armenia were countered by demonstrations in Baku, during which time strong anti-Armenian sentiments were voiced by citizens and officials alike. One such statement came on February 14, 1988, when the head of the department of Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan Asadov, declared "a hundred thousand Azerbaijanis are ready to storm Artsakh (Karabakh) at any time and organize a slaughter there." In the days leading up to the massacre, a leader of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan, Hidayat Orujov, warned Armenians in Sumgait: "If you do not stop campaigning for the unification of Nagorno Karabakh with Armenia, if you don't sober up, 100,000 Azeris from neighboring districts will break into your houses, torch your apartments, rape your women, and kill your children."
On February 26 several minor rallies were held at Lenin Square in Sumgait. Explicit calls for violence against Armenians and for their expulsion from Azerbaijan were heard and the crowds were agitated by news of Azerbaijani refugees who had fled Armenia (from the towns Kapan and Masis). Certain individuals told stories of murders and violence purportedly carried out by Armenians against the Azerbaijanis. Soviet authorities would later cast these individuals as agents provocateur. One individual, according to the Soviet press, was later revealed not to be a resident of Kapan, as he had claimed, but a criminal with a prior arrest record. Zardusht Alizadeh, who was active in the social and political life of Azerbaijan from 1988-1989 and was one of the founders of Azerbaijani Popular Front, visited Sumgait ten days after the pogrom and met with the workers from the aluminum factory, and reported that locals said that people from out of town had been inciting the violence. Baku's local Party leader Fuad Musayev, who was called back to Baku because of the unrest, stated in the interview given to Thomas de Waal, "Someone was provoking them, propaganda work was going on."
The demonstrations in the Lenin Square were concluded with strong anti-Armenian sentiments. During the demonstrations there were apparent threats and accusations against the Armenians for distorting the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. The Armenians were also blamed for being much better-off than most of the Azerbaijanis in Sumgait. Slogans such as "Death to Armenians!" and "Armenians get out of our city" were being voiced. There were also many public figures attending the rallies, among them the head of public school No: 25, an actress of the Arablinski theatre, Azerbaijani poet Khydyr Alovlu (a strong supporter of Heydar Aliyev) and others, who called for Armenians to be expelled from Azerbaijan or killed. Almost each speech was concluded with the slogan "Death to Armenians!". Since the speakers used microphones these calls were heard not only in the square but also in the nearby streets.
Efforts to calm the crowd were made by Azerbaijani figures such as secretary of the city party committee Bayramova and poet Bakhtiyar Vahabzadeh, who addressed the crowd atop a platform. V. Huseinov, the director of the Institute of Political Education in Azerbaijan, also attempted to calm them by assuring them that Karabakh would remain within the republic and that the refugees stories were false. He in turn was heckled with insults and forced to step down. Jahangir Muslimzade, Sumgait's first secretary, spoke to the crowd, and told them to allow Armenians to leave of their own accord. But according to witnesses, this message served to agitate the crowd. Shortly after his speech, at around 6:30 pm, Muslimzade was handed a flag of the Azerbaijan SSR and soon found himself leading the crowd. According to Muslimzade, he was attempting to lead the crowd away from the Armenian district and toward the sea, but many Armenians saw this act as implicating him as a leader of the riot. The crowd, in any case, dispersed and several groups made for the Armenian district.
Another factor that may have ignited the violence was an announcement of the murder of two Azerbaijanis. On February 27, Soviet Deputy Federal Procurator, Aleksandr Katusev, announced on Baku Radio and Central Television, that two Azerbaijani youths, Bakhtiyar Guliyev and Ali Hajiyev, were killed in a clash between Armenians and Azerbaijanis near Agdam several days earlier  One of the youth was killed by an Azerbaijani police officer, but Katusev neglected to mention that and would later receive a stinging rebuke for revealing the nationalities of the young men. The secretive nature the Soviet Union was still attempting to shake off led many Azerbaijanis to believe that there was something more nefarious to Katusev's report than he led on.
Pogrom and atrocities
The pogrom of the Armenian population of Sumgait started on the evening of February 27, one week after the appeal of the Council of People's Deputies to unify Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia and according to many sources was a direct response to the Council's decision. The perpetrators were targeting the victims based solely on the ethnicity factor-being Armenian was the only criterion. Some sources speak of premeditation ahead of the break-out of violence. Cobbles were brought into the city to block and limit access and exit from the town; the perpetrators had previously obtained the list of addresses of the Armenian residents of the city. Warnings by Azerbaijanis sympathetic to their Armenian neighbors instructed them to leave their lights on the night of the 27th; those who shut it off would be assumed to be Armenian. According to several Armenian witnesses and Soviet military personnel, alcohol and anasha, a term referring to narcotics, were brought in trucks and distributed to the crowds, although such accounts were not unreported in the media. According to de Waal, notes that the attackers were armed with homemade weapons that would have taken some time and effort to manufacture, suggesting a certain level of planning.
Violence broke on the evening of February 27. The attacking groups were of varying age groups. While the main participants were adult males and even some women, there were also youth students who took part in vandalizing and looting from the Armenians' homes appliances, shoes, and clothing. The mobs entered the apartment buildings and seek out Armenians where they lived. Some took shelter among their Azerbaijani and Russian neighbors, who also risked being attacked by the mobs. Others turned on the television to watch Azerbaijani music concerts and raised the volume to indicate off the effect that they were in fact Azerbaijanis.
The pogrom was marked by atrocities and savagery. As Waal describes it, "The roving gangs committed acts of horrific savagery. Several victims were so badly mutilated by axes that their bodies could not be identified." Numerous acts of gang rape and sexual abuse were committed, taking place in both the apartments and publicly on the city's streets. An account of one such act that was also corroborated by witnesses described how a crowd stripped naked an Armenian woman and dragged her through the streets. Rumors circulating that Armenian women in hospital maternity wards were having their fetuses disemboweled were later said to be false.
In the midst of the attacks, many Armenians sought to defend themselves and improvised by nailing their doors shut and arming themselves with axes, and in some instances a number of intruding rioters were killed. Calls going to ambulances were late or in many cases, unheeded completely. There was no intervention on the part of the police to stop the perpetrators. As mentioned by De Waal, "Another factor, which seems to have been a necessary condition for ethnic violence to begin, came into play: the local police did nothing. It later transpired that the local police force was overwhelmingly composed of Azerbaijanis and had only one professional Armenian officer."
The weekly Moskovskiye Novosti later reported that eight of the city's twenty ambulances had been destroyed by the mobs. Looting was prevalent and many attackers discussed among themselves on who would take possession of what after they had broken into the apartments. In some cases, televisions were stolen, along with other appliances and household goods; many apartments were vandalized and set on fire.
The lives of many Armenians were protected and saved by their Azerbaijani friends, neighbors or even strangers, who, at the risk of their own lives, let the Armenians hide in their houses or be escorted in their cars out of the city. According to the Armenian witnesses, when the Soviet troops went door-to-door searching for survivors, they managed to collect thousands of Armenians who had been hiding in Azeri households.
The Soviet government's reaction to the protests was initially slow. Authorities were reluctant to send military units to impose martial law into town. The spirit of glasnost had seen the Soviet Union more tolerant in responding to such politically-charged issues. However, Soviet officials in Azerbaijan, some of whom were witnessing the attacks, appealed to Kremlin leaders to dispatch Soviet troops to Sumgait. In a Soviet Politburo session on the third day of the rioting (February 29), Gorbachev and his senior cabinet, conferred on several subjects before discussing the events of Sumgait. When the issue was finally raised, Gorbachev voiced his opposition to the proposal of sending in troops but cabinet members Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze and Defense Minister Dmitry Yazov, fearing an escalation of violence, persuaded him otherwise.
Meanwhile, on the previous day, two battalions from the MVD, troops mainly equipped with truncheons and riot gear (those troops who were armed with firearms were armed with blanks and not given the permission to open fire), arrived in Sumgait in buses and armored personnel carriers. As they moved in to secure the town, the soldiers found themselves as targets of the mob. In what became a startling sight for the city's residents, the soldiers were attacked and maimed with the improvised steel objects. Their armored vehicles were flipped over and in some cases disabled by molotov cocktails, as the troops found themselves in complete disarray.
By February 29, the situation had worsened to the point where authorities were forced to call in more professional and heavily armed troops, who were given the right to use deadly force. A contingent made up of elements of the Felix Dzerzhinsky Division of the Internal Troops; a company of Marines from the Caspian Sea Naval Flotilla; troops from Dagestan; an assault landing brigade; military police; and the 137th Parachute Regiment of the Airborne Forces from Ryazan – a military force of nearly 10,000 men under the overall command of a Lieutenant General Krayev – made its way to Sumgait. Tanks were brought in and ordered to cordon off the city. Andrei Shilkov, a Russian journalist for the periodical Glasnost, counted at least 47 tanks and reported also seeing troops wearing bulletproof vests patrolling the town, an implication that firearms were present and used during the rioting.
A curfew was imposed from 8 pm to 7 am as skirmishes between troops and rioters continued. Krayev ordered troops to rescue Armenians left in their apartments. By the evening of the 29th, martial law was imposed and troops in buses and personnel carriers were patrolling the streets of Sumgait. Under heavily armed guard, civilian buses and APCs transported Armenian residents to the Samed Vurgun Cultural Facility (known as the SK) in the city's main square. The SK building was designed to accommodate several hundred people, though as many as several thousand eventually found shelter there.
By March 1, Soviet troops had effectively quelled the rioting. Investigations were slated to begin immediately; however, waste disposal trucks cleaned much of the debris on the streets before they arrived. Soviet authorities arrested over 400 men in connection to the rioting and violence. The Soviet media did not initially report the event and remained largely silent, broadcasting instead news related to foreign affairs while the media in Sumgait spoke only on local issues unrelated to the massacre. The Soviet government was initially hesitant to admit that violence had taken place; however, when it did, it was quick to downplay the scale of the event, describing the rioting that had occurred as that perpetrated by "hooligans." TASS reported of "rampage and violence" taking place in Sumgait on March 1, which was provoked on the part of a "group of hooligans" who engaged in various criminal acts Western journalists were denied access to visit the town by Soviet authorities.
On April 28, 1988, images of the pogrom were broadcast in a 90-minute documentary by Soviet journalist Genrikh Borovik. Borovik criticized the media blackout imposed by the Soviet government, claiming that it ran against Gorbachev's aims of greater openness under glasnost. Eduard Shevardnadze later remarked on the failure to report the massacre in Sumgait as a failure of glasnost itself: "the old mechanisms kicked in, simplifying, distorting or just eliminating the truth about [this event]."
Soviet authorities arrested 400 men in connection to the massacre and prepared criminal charges for 84 (82 Azerbaijanis, one Russian, and one Armenian). Taleh Ismailov, a pipe-fitter from one of Sumgait's industrial plants, was charged with premeditated murder and was the first to be tried by the Soviet Supreme Court in Moscow in May 1988. By October 1988, nine men had been sentenced, including Ismailov, who was sent to 15 years in prison with a further 33 on trial. Other sentences were more harsh: Ahmad Ahmadov was found guilty and sentenced to be shot by a firing squad for leading a mob and taking part in the murder of seven people. However, 90 of those who were tried were set free after some time as they were sentenced for mere hooliganism, rather than for murder, violence and savagery carried out in Sumgait.
There were many who expressed their dissatisfaction with the way the trials were organized and conducted. Soviet historian and dissident Roy Medvedev questioned the trials: "Who knows why, but the court examined the Sumgait events by subdividing them into single episodes and not as a programmatic act of genocide." Most Armenians and Azerbaijanis were also dissatisfied with the trials. Armenians complained that the true instigators of the pogrom were never caught whereas Azerbaijanis stated the sentences were too harsh and were upset with the fact that the trials were not held in Azerbaijan. Some Azerbaijanis even went on to campaign for the "freedom for the heroes of Sumgait." Indeed, many of the perpetrators of the pogrom gained titles of national heroes and/or high positions in the government, where they serve till today.
In Armenia and Karabakh
The pogrom was immediately linked to the Armenian Genocide of 1915 in the Armenian national consciousness. On the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day on April 24, 1988 a khachkar (cross stone) dedicated to the pogrom victims was planted at the Armenian Genocide memorial at Tsitsernakaberd.
February 28 was designated as a public holiday in Armenia in 2005. It is officially known as "The Day of Memory of the Victims of Massacres in Azerbaijani SSR and Protection of the Rights of the Deported Armenian Population".
In July 1988, within months of the Sumgait massacre, the United States Senate unanimously passed Amendment 2690 to the Fiscal Year 1989 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill (H.R. 4782), concerning the Karabakh conflict, which called on the Soviet government to "respect the legitimate aspirations of the Armenian people …" and noted that "dozens of Armenians have been killed and hundreds injured during the recent unrests…"
On July 27, 1990, 130 leading academics and human rights advocates wrote "An Open Letter to International Public Opinion on Anti-Armenian Pogroms in the Soviet Union" published in the New York Times. The letter, which was signed by professors from Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Berkeley, UCLA, Wesleyan University, University of Paris IV Sorbonne and other universities, urged the international community to take action to protect the Armenian community in Azerbaijan.
Several conspiracy theories spawned in the wake of the pogrom alternatively attributed to the KGB, the CIA, and the Armenians themselves.
- An Armenian provocation
Azerbaijani historian and head of the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences Ziya Bunyadov, whom Thomas de Waal calls "Azerbaijan's foremost Armenophobe", claimed that the massacre had been instigated by the Armenians to cast a negative light upon Azerbaijan. By late 1988, most Sumgait Azerbaijanis had come around to the view that the Armenians had provoked the rioting with this objective in hand. In an article that appeared in the Azerbaijani journal Elm, Bunyadov claimed that Armenians had organized the pogroms: "The Sumgait tragedy was carefully prepared by Armenian nationalists...Several hours after it began, Armenian photographers and TV journalists secretly entered the city where they awaited in readiness." Bunyadov's thesis was hinged on the fact that Sumgait Armenians had withdrawn more than one million rubles from their savings before the attacks. To support his thesis, he had also drawn attention to the fact that one of the participants in the riots and killings was Eduard Grigorian, a man of mixed Russian-Armenian lineage who had three previous criminal convictions and pretended to be Azerbaijani. Grigorian was a factory worker who took part in gang rapes and mass attacks and was subsequently sentenced to 12 years for his role in the massacres. Grigorian had been brought up in Sumgait by his Russian mother following the early death of his Armenian father, and his ethnic identity is considered irrelevant since he appropriately fit the profile of a "pogromshchik, a thuggish young man, of indeterminate nationality with a criminal past, seeking violence for its own sake." This view has since gained wider currency in all of Azerbaijan today, where it is still euphemistically referred to in the media and by government officials as the "Sumgait events."
American analyst Paul A. Goble suggested in a 2015 interview with the Armenian service of Voice of America that the pogrom was perpetrated by a "group of Azerbaijani criminals by the provocation of the KGB."
Davud Imanov, an Azerbaijani filmmaker, expanded on this theory in a series of films called the Echo of Sumgait where he accused Armenians, Russians and Americans of conspiring together against Azerbaijan and claiming that Karabakh movement was a plot organized by the CIA.
- Anti-Armenianism in Azerbaijan
- Kirovabad pogrom (1988)
- Pogrom of Armenians in Baku (1990)
- Operation Ring (1991)
- Maraga Massacre (1992)
- List of massacres in the Soviet Union
- List of massacres in Azerbaijan
- Shelling of Stepanakert
- De Waal, Thomas (2010). The Caucasus: An Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 111. ISBN 978-0195399776.
- Vaserman, Arie; Ginat, Ram (1994). "National, territorial or religious conflict? The case of Nagorno‐Karabakh". Studies in Conflict & Terrorism. 17 (4): 348. doi:10.1080/10576109408435961.
These events contributed to the anti-Armenian riots of February 28-29 in Sumgait near Baku. According to official data, 32 Armenians were killed during the riots, but various Armenian sources claimed that more than 200 people were killed.
- Cox and Eibner. "Ethnic Cleansing in Progress: War in Nagorno Karabakh" Zurich: Institute for Religious Minorities in the Islamic World, 1993 .
- Shahmuratian. Sumgait Tragedy, Interview with Valentina Shagayants, pp. 65–66.
- Remnick, David (6 September 1989). "Hate Runs High in Soviet Union's Most Explosive Ethnic Feud". The Washington Post. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
- Hosking, Geoffrey A. (1993). The First Socialist Society: A History of the Soviet Union from Within (2nd ed.). Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. p. 475.
- Kenez, Peter (2006). A History of the Soviet Union from the Beginning to the End (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 272.
- Hovhannisyan, Mari (2010). "The Collective Memory of the Armenian Genocide" (PDF). Budapest: Central European University. p. 21.
The posters carried by the Armenians on April 24, 1988 were verifications of the fact that Armenians saw the Sumgait massacres as the continuation of the genocide.
- Pheiffer, Evan (1 June 2016). "A Place to Live For". Jacobin.
Complicating matters, Armenians seem incapable of separating the 1988 pogroms from the 1915 Ottoman atrocities — mention of one immediately triggers talk of the other.
- Glasnost: : Vol. 2,Issue 1, Center for Democracy (New York, N.Y.) - 1990, p. 62, cit. 'The massacre of Armenians in Sumgait, the heinous murders in Tbilisi—these killings are examples of genocide directed by the Soviet regime against its own people.', an announcement by USSR Journalists' Union
- Time of change: an insider's view of Russia's transformation, Roy Medvedev, Giulietto Chiesa - 1991 - p. 209
- "Communities Worldwide Mark Sumgait Anniversary Along with Government Officials". Asbarez. 1 March 2011.
- War and Peace in the Caucasus: Russia's Troubled Frontier 1st Edition by Vicken Cheterian 2011
- Krivopuskov, Viktor V. (2007). Мятежный Карабах: Из дневника офицера МВД СССР [Rebellious Karabakh: From the diary of an officer of the USSR] (2nd ed.). Moscow: Golos Press. pp. 87–88. ISBN 5-7117-0163-0.
- De Waal 2003, p. 14.
- Vasilevsky, Alexander (1988). "Туча в горах [A cloud in the mountains]". Avrora (in Russian). Leningrad (10).
- "Congressional Record Extensions of Remarks Articles - Congressional Record - Congress.gov - Library of Congress". Retrieved 6 April 2015.
- SUMGAIT POGROM OF 1988: THE PUBLIC RECORD. Armenian Assembly of America 2005
- Kulish, O.; Melikov, D. (March 27, 1988). Черным семенам не прорасти. Sotsialisticheskaya Industriya (in Russian). Moscow.
- Ali-Zade, Zardusht. "Азербайджанская элита и массы в период распада СССР (Статья-мемуары о бурном времени) [The Azerbaijani Elite and Masses in the period of collapse of the USSR (An article-memoir on turbulent Times)]". Andrei Sakharov Archives and Human Rights Center.
Рабочие Сумгаита говорили о странных, "нездешнего вида" молодых мужчинах, которые заводили толпу. Что это за "нездешнего вида" мужчины, были ли они в действительности или это - плод воображения, - на эти вопросы я не знал ответа тогда, не знаю и сейчас, по прошествии более чем десяти лет.
- Thomas De Waal Ch. 2, p. 31
- Krivopuskov V. V. Мятежный Карабах. Из дневника офицера МВД СССР. Издание второе, дополненное. — М.: Голос-Пресс, 2007. — 384 с. Ил. ISBN 5-7117-0163-0
- Newspaper «НОВОЕ ВРЕМЯ» N9 21 89
- Rost, Yuri. The Armenian Tragedy: An Eye-Witness Account of Human Conflict and Natural Disaster in Armenia and Azerbaijan. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990, p. 27. ISBN 0-312-04611-1.
- Beissinger, Mark R. (2002). Nationalist Mobilization and the Collapse of the Soviet State. Cambridge University Press. p. 300. ISBN 0-521-00148-X.
- De Waal 2003, pp. 33-34.
- De Waal 2003, p. 33.
- De Waal "Black Garden"
- Session of Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 29 Feb. 1988. 
- "Sumgait: Evidence given by witnesses and relatives of victims of pogroms". Viktoria Grigoryan, sister of murdered Seda Danielyan: "Somebody knocked on the door and asked: "Are you Armenians?" My sister's husband answered: "No, we are Azeris", and they left." Danielyan Vitaliy, son of killed Nikolay and Seda Danielyans: "They entered the house and started to raid the flat. Then they took the parents’ passports and read a few words. One of them read out in good Russian "Danielyan", stressing "yan" turned the page, it said "Armenian". And he says: "Ok, this is enough". Then they started to shout that they had come to drink blood..." 
- Zverev Alexandr. Ethnic conflicts in the Caucasus 1988-1994. In Coppieters Bruno (ed.) Contested borders in the Caucasus. Brussels: Vubpress, 1996. pp. 13-71.
- Rieff David Nagorno Karabakh: case study in ethnic strife. Foreign Affairs, vol. 76 (2) Mar.-Apr. 1997, pp. 118-132.
- Excerpt from the indictment in the criminal case 18/60233 on charges of Ahmad Imani ogly Ahmаdov, Ilham Azat ogly Ismailov and Yavar Giyas ogly Jafarov. Moscow, Nov. 1988, The Supreme Court of USSR. "I reckon they knew the addresses of the Armenians in advance. I came to this conclusion because the pogrom-makers were entering precisely the buildings were Armenians lived. In reality, they knew all the addresses, they were acting unmistakably. And all that was not out of hooligan intentions, that was an action specifically against the Armenian people, against Armenians. Not against Russians or other nations, but against Armenians. They were looking particularly for Armenians..."
- Shahmuratian 1990.
- De Waal 2003, p. 35.
- Rodina. No. 4, 1994, pp. 82–90.
- Shahmuratian 1990, pp. 56–60.
- De Waal 2003, p. 34.
- Shahmuratian 1990, p. 227.
- Lee, Gary. "Eerie Silence Hangs Over Soviet City." Washington Post. September 4, 1988. p. A33. Retrieved July 31, 2006.
- Sumgait: testimony of eyewitnesses. video: 01.13. "I personally saw the local police was standing there, doing nothing, as if it were there to help the rioters. There was no official announcement."
- Fragment from the indictment on criminal case 18/60233 on accusation of Akhmed Imani ogly Akhmedov, Ilham Azat ogly Ismailov, and Yavar Giyas ogly Jafarov: "Answering the question of lawyer Shaposhnikova "Why did you not call your father, who was in service then, to tell him about what was happening in your block?", witness D. Zarbaliev (the witness’ father worked in the militia in Sumgait) said:"And why did I need to call? The militia knew about it; everybody knew about it. It was not the first day of the pogroms".
- in Russian Zardusht Ali-Zade. Azerbaijani Elit and Masses in the period of collapse of the USSR (article-memoir on turbulent times).
- De Waal. Black Garden, p. 33
- "Сумгаит, Один месяц поздно [Sumgait, One Month Later]". Moskovskiye Novosti (in Russian). April 13, 1988.
- Miller, Donald E. and Lorna Touryan Miller. Armenia: Portraits of Survival and Hope. Berkeley: University of California Press; pp. 46–47.
- "Soviets Impose Curfew After Riots." Newsday. March 2, 1988 p. 13. Retrieved December 30, 2006.
- De Waal 2003, p. 38-39.
- Kaufman 2001, p. 64.
- De Waal 2003, p. 37-38.
- Shahmuratian 1990, p. 199.
- De Waal 2003, p. 39.
- Bortin, Mary Ellen. "Witness Tells of Aftermath of Bloody Armenian Riots." Seattle Times. March 11, 1988. p. B1. Retrieved September 15, 2006.
- Lyday, Corbin. "A Commitment to Truth Telling: Behind the Scenes in Soviet Armenia." 1988 (Typewritten), p. 28. Accessed December 16, 2006.
- "400 arrested after riots in Sumgait, Soviets say." Toronto Star. March 22, 1988. Retrieved December 26, 2006.
- De Waal 2003, p. 40.
- Malkasian 1996, p. 54.
- "Soviet TV surprise: Ethnic strife shown; Program rips news blackout, defends glasnost." Chicago Sun-Times. April 28, 1988. p. 36. Retrieved December 31, 2006.
- Shevardnadze, Eduard. The Future Belongs to Freedom. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991, pp. 176–177. ISBN 0-02-928617-4.
- De Waal 2003, pp. 39, 43.
- Keller, Bill. "Riot's Legacy of Distrust Quietly Stalks a Soviet City." The New York Times. August 31, 1988. Retrieved April 19, 2007
- "Soviet Riot Leader Sentenced to Death." The Washington Post. November 20, 1988. Retrieved April 19, 2007.
- Виктор Кривопусков: Преступники в Азербайджане возносятся в ранг национальных героев (in Russian). REGNUM News Agency. 28 February 2009. Archived from the original on 16 November 2014.
- Medvedev. Time of Change, p. 209.
- Kaufman 2001, p. 65.
- Kaufman 2001, pp. 67, 205.
- Hidayat Orujev for instance went on to serve as Azerbaijan's State Advisor for Ethnic Policy and is currently serving as the Chairman of State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations of Azerbaijan Republic.
- Malkasian 1996, p. 68.
- «Հայաստանի Հանրապետության տոների և հիշատակի օրերի մասին» Հայաստանի Հանրապետության օրենքում լրացում կատարելու մասին. parliament.am (in Armenian). National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia. Archived from the original on 16 November 2014.
- "More Members of Congress Commemorate Sumgait, Baku Massacres". Asbarez News. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
- SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 4, March 1, 2013
- RESOLUTION on the situation in Soviet Armenia. Joint resolution replacing Docs. B2-538 and 587 88, 07 July 1988. Source: Official journal of the European Communities, No. C 94/117, o C 235/106, 07 July 1988
- "An Open Letter on Anti-Armenian Pogroms in the Soviet Union by Jacques Derrida, Isaiah Berlin, and Alain Finkielkraut - The New York Review of Books". Retrieved 6 April 2015.
- See, for example, Jamil Babayeva, "Armenia's provocation: Sumgayit events. AzerNews." February 28, 2014; "Sumgait's events committed by special services and Armenian diaspora." Trend. February 27, 2014.
- De Waal 2003, p. 42.
- (in Russian) Buniyatov, Ziya. "Concerning the events in Karabakh and Sumgait." Elm. No. 19, May 13, 1989, p. 175. Excerpts of this text can be found in Levon Chorbajian; Patrick Donabedian; Claude Mutafian. The Caucasian Knot: The History and Geopolitics of Nagorno-Karabagh. London: Zed Books, 1994, pp. 188–189. ISBN 1-85649-288-5.
- De Waal 2003, pp. 42-43.
- De Waal 2003, p. 43.
- Yakovlev, Alexander N. (2003). Сумерки [Time of darkness] (in Russian). Moscow: Materik. p. 551.
- Սումգայիթի ջարդը՝ ՊԱԿ–ի կազմակերպած ոճիրն էր. amerikayidzayn.com (in Armenian). Voice of America. 27 February 2015.
- Mkhitaryan, Inesa (27 February 2015). Ըստ Փոլ Գոբլի՝ Սումգայիթի ջարդը ՊԱԿ-ի կազմակերպած ոճիրն էր. azatutyun.am (in Armenian). Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
- De Waal, Thomas (2003). Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War. New York: New York University Press. ISBN 9780814719459.
- Kaufman, Stuart J. (2001). Modern Hatreds: The Symbolic Politics of Ethnic War. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-8736-6.
- Shahmuratian, Samvel (1990). The Sumgait Tragedy: Pogroms Against Armenians in Soviet Azerbaijan. New York: Zoryan Institute.
- Malkasian, Mark (1996). "Gha-Ra-Bagh"! The Emergence of the National Democratic Movement in Armenia. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-2605-6.
- Nationalism at Its Nastiest - The New York Times
- Vladimir Kryuchkov. Hardline Soviet Communist who became head of the KGB and led a failed plot to overthrow Mikhail Gorbachev, Times Online
- Sumgait Pogroms. Hon. Howard L. Berman, United States House of Representatives, Congressional Record, Feb. 2012
- sumgait.info Armenian site
- sumqait.com Azeri point of view
- Sumgait massacres - Budapest case
- Pogroms of Armenians in Sumgait, Office of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
- Aslan Ismayilov Sumgayit — Beginning of the Collapse of the USSR. Baku: Çaşıoğlu. 2010
- The Ordinary genocide. Sumgait, February 1988. Documentary
- Karabakhrecords.info Armenian site
|History||Locations||Political leaders||Military leaders||Documents|
1 Republic of Armenia's involvement is partial
Administrative territorial entities of the NKR: