KHOJALY: The role of the 366 regiment

Involvement of the 366th Motorized Infantry Regiment in the massacre

In 1985, the 366th regiment forming a part of the 23rd division of the 4th Army was transferred from Ganja to Khankendi (Stepanakert). Under the staff, there should have been 1800 servicemen in the regiment, but in fact, there were only 630 people left in February, 129 out of them officers and warrant officers, with 49 being Armenians. In spring 1991, a lieutenant colonel, Yuriy Zarvigorov was appointed the commander of the regiment. According to numerous testimonies of witnesses, including soldiers, who ran away at a different time, the whole military hardware, and even the personnel of the regiment were virtually at the disposal of Armenians. There existed a certain scale of payment calculation: Armenians gave 20 litres of alcohol to servicemen for each time they shelled the town of Shusha out of cannons, while their commander was paid 1 thousand rubles for that, and 5 thousand rubles for each infantry fighting vehicle engaged in the operation against Azerbaijanis. (According to some sources, there were amounts much larger.).

On 25-26th February, the servicemen of the 366th regiment with a hardware engaged took part in the assault of Khodjaly, as well as killing of civilians (including women and children) fleeing the town.

Regarding this matter, Memorial wrote the following in its report:

«Practically all the Khodjaly refugees testified that the servicemen of the 366th regiment had also participated in the assault, some of them coming in the town.

According to the information provided by the Armenian side, the infantry fighting vehicles with the personnel of the 366th regiment involved in the shelling of Khodjaly, did not enter the town at all. Their participation was not authorized by the order of the commandment of the regiment in written form, the Armenian side reported».

Human Rights Watch also reported the 366th regiment servicemen attacking the civilians.

It should be mentioned that it was not the first case of the regiment’s taking actions on the Armenian side. They are known to have participated in Armenians’ operations on expelling the Azerbaijani population from Karabakh even before Khodjaly.

The escaped servicemen stated the commandment of the regiment was informed of everything; furthermore, it sold and gave for rent the armaments to Armenians. The armed units of the latter (Fedayees) freely moved on the territory of the regiment. By means of the arms and the personnel of the 366th regiment they could take Khodjaly, and other settlements, in particular, Mesheli, Malybeyli, Kyarkidjakhan, Karadaghly. All the captures were followed by mass killings and the expulsion of the population, with their property looted and homes burned.

In spite of the point-blank denial of the involvement of the 366th regiment by its commandment, there is a sufficient number of the evidence proving their complicity in taking of Khodjaly, civilians’ killings, as well as the property plundering.

In the article of the “Krasnaya Zvezda” (Press organ of the Russian Army) titled “Karabakh: a war till the victorious end?” published on March 11th 1992, the fact of the 366th regiment’s participation in the seizure of Khodjaly was acknowledged, though partially.

A fragment from the article: “despite the unyielding refusal of the commandment of the district, some servicemen of the 366th Motorized Infantry regiment got involved in the fighting at Khodjaly on the Karabakh residents’ (Armenians) side on the 20s’ days of February. There were at least two such cases reported. Besides, during evacuation of the regiment’s personnel, the paratroopers searched several servicemen at choice and found large sums of money, in the foreign currency, as well”.

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