Observer-Reporter – Jul 28, 1990
MOSCOW (AP) — Military force will be used to restore peace in Armenia and other republics if armed groups disobey a new government order to surrender their weapons, Soviet Interior Minister Vadim A. Bakatin warned Friday. President Mikhail S. Gorbachev issued a decree Wednesday giving illegally armed militants 15 days to turn in their weapons or risk having them confiscated by local police, officials of the republics or Interior Ministry troops.
“If we do not take such measures, we will not be able to control such processes as those under way at present, for example, in Armenia,” Bakatin told a news conference. “If any guerrillas do not comply with the decree, we have been entrusted to use force,” Bakatin said. “We hope that reason will prevail.”
He estimated from 10,000 to 20,000 Armenians were involved in illegally armed groups, but said others put the figure at 40,000 and as high as 100,000.
Gorbachev’s decree encompassed all groups which threatened people’s lives, seized arms, assaulted soldiers or police, or attacked military and civilian facilities.