Early in 1988, the southern Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan witnessed large-scale political demonstrations and ethnic clashes. Renewed demonstrations and street confrontations in mid-May led to the dismissal of the Communist Party chiefs in both republics. Joe Stork spoke to Ronald Grigor Suny, who teaches Soviet and Armenian history at the University of Michigan, about the background to these clashes. Suny is the author of Armenia in the Twentieth Century (Scholars Press, 1983) and The Baku Commune, 1917-1918: Class and Nationality in the Russian Revolution (Princeton University Press, 1972).
What exactly happened early this year in Karabagh, when clashes erupted between Soviet Armenians and Azerbaijanis?