Eyewitness To Hatred

Fresh from the heart of the conflict, a Soviet official tells how both sides try to exterminate each other

Ask Major General Sergei Kupreyev his position within the Interior Ministry and he explains, with a smile, that he is actually deputy chief of the Higher Academy of Fire Fighters. The affiliation is appropriate: for the past year, he has been putting out symbolic fires in Nagorno-Karabakh, the mostly Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan and the scene of some of the region's worst ( bloodletting. A year ago, the Kremlin dispatched Kupreyev and four other outsiders to assume administrative control of Nagorno-Karabakh. In November the Supreme Soviet returned command of the enclave to the Azerbaijanis. Two weeks ago, Kupreyev, 52, came home.

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