Armenians have an amazing historical memory, said Nikolai Ryzhkov, chair of a USSR commission dealing with coordination of operations for elimination of consequences and providing aid to the victims of devastating Spitak earthquake in Armenia on December 7, 1988.

According to him, 16 thousand people were rescued from the rubble, and over 40 thousand were brought out of the destruction zone.

Asked to comment on Gorbachev’s arrival in Spitak after the earthquake, he said that the Soviet leader was in New York, when he called him and told about the disaster.

“Later he called me back and said ‘I'm flying out to you’,” he said in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

 An hour later, Gorbachev’s security chief called him and asked whether an airfield could take a heavy board or not as he intended to come with an armored ZIL.

“I told him that we could ride on my bus here,” Ryzhkov said.

According to Ryzhkov, Armenians have an amazing historical memory.

“After all, I was prime minister just two years after that tragedy. But regardless of the position I held, Armenian people never forget about me, and I am grateful to them,” he said adding “...Yes, they remember me. And I will never forget this great nation…”