Posted in English

About Artsakh Republic

Following the collapse of the USSR, the former Soviet nation-state entity known as the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Region as well as the Shahumian merged to form the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, with the capital city of Stepanakert. NKR declared its independence on September 2, 1991, in full compliance with the fundamental norms and principles of the international law. Nagorno Karabakh is located in the northeastern part of the Armenian Highlands. Since ancient times, it has been one of the provinces of historical Armenia․ In the ancient Armenian state of Urartu, Artsakh was referred to as Urtekhe-Urtekheni. In the middle of the 18th century did nomadic Turkic tribes begin penetrating into the northern borders of Karabakh, initiating centuries-long wars against the local Armenian noble families. The provinces of Nagorno Karabakh, were able to maintain real autonomy, while simultaneously sustaining personal, royal, and other kinds of military units. Being compelled to resist attacks of the Ottoman armies, nomadic tribes, hostile neighbouring governors, and the armies of the Persian shahs, the Artsakh meliks strived to free themselves from foreign dominance. In 1805, the historical territory of Artsakh, artificially named as “Khanate of Karabakh”, along with other large areas of Eastern Transcaucasia, fell under the “everlasting rule” of the Russian Empire by the Gulistan. The independent Republic of Armenia and the newly formed Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan that was created due to Turkish intervention, battled over the territory between 1918 and1920. From the moment of its formation, Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan made territorial demands regarding significant Armenian lands in Transcaucasia. Between the years 1918-1920, taking advantage of the chaotic situation created due to World War I the regular Turkish forces joined by Azeri military units completely destroyed hundreds of Armenian villages and organized massacres of Armenians and Genocide of Armenians. Only in Nagorno Karabakh they have met serious armed resistance by military formations, organized by the National Council. The League of Nations, before the final resolution of the conflict, recognized Nagorno Karabakh as a disputed territory, which was agreed to by all parties, including Azerbaijan. Thus from 1918-1920, during the formation of Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan, its sovereignty did not extend over Nagorno Karabakh or, for that matter, Nakhijevan. In 1920, after the establishment of Soviet Azerbaijan, Russian forces temporarily occupied Nagorno Karabakh as per the treaty signed between Soviet Russia and the Republic of Armenia, until a peaceful solution to the conflict was reached. Immediately after the establishment of the Soviet regime in Armenia, the Azerbaijan Revcom made a declaration recognizing Nagorno Karabakh, Zangezur, and Nakhijevan as inseparable parts of Armenia. At the time of this declaration, none of those territories belonged to Azerbaijan. In June 1921, Armenia declared Nagorno Karabakh as its inseparable part. The International Community, including Russia, applauded the act of cession. The leaders of Azerbaijan renewed their claims over Nagorno Karabakh. Under Stalin’s direct pressure, contradicting the act of cession, and with procedural violations, a decision of forceful separation of Nagorno Karabakh from Armenia was made, with a stipulation of Armenian national autonomy of Nagorno Karabakh within the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic. Azerbaijan delayed granting autonomy to Nagorno Karabakh in every possible way. In 1923, an Autonomous Region was established on a small portion of the actual land. Nagorno Karabakh was partitioned: one part became autonomous, while another large part was deliberately merged into the administrative regions of Soviet Azerbaijan in such a way that the physical and geographic ties between Armenia and the Armenian autonomous region were neutralized. Thus, a significant portion of the territories that the League of Nations had recognized as “disputed” was forcibly annexed to Azerbaijan, and the borders of the autonomous region excluded many areas of Nagorno Karabakh. The Karabakh question was not resolved but was frozen for almost 70 years. The year 1988 The people of Artsakh raised their voice in defence of their rights and freedom. The Armenian population of Nagorno Karabakh demanded reunification with Armenia. On February 20, 1988, the People’s Deputies made a decision at extraordinary session of the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Republic Council to appeal to the Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijani SSR for secession. Hundreds of kilometres from the NKAR, massacres and mass murders of Armenians were carried out in Azerbaijani cities of Sumgait, Baku, Kirovabad, Shamkhor, and later throughout Azerbaijan. More than 450,000 Armenians from towns and villages in Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh became refugees. A joint session of the People’s Deputies of the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Region and Shahumian regional councils, on September 2, 1991, declared the establishment of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic within the borders of the former NKAR and Shahumian region. The Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan, contrary to all legal norms, passed a law liquidating the NKAR, which was declared as unconstitutional by the USSR Constitutional Court. On December 10, 1991, a referendum was held in Nagorno Karabakh with the overwhelming majority of the population voting in favour of full independence from Azerbaijan. Parliamentary elections of the NKR were held on December 28, which then formed the first government. Utilizing the weaponry of the USSR’s 4th Army headquartered in its territory, Azerbaijan engaged in wide-scale military operations against Nagorno Karabakh. There were times when almost 60% of the territory of Nagorno Karabakh was captured, while the capital city of Stepanakert and other residential areas were relentlessly subjected to massive air and artillery bombardments. In June-July of 1992, the Azerbaijani army captured the NKR’s entire Shahumian region, a great portion of the Martakert region, and portions of Martuni, Askeran, and Hadrut regions. Separate defence detachments were reconfigured forming the Nagorno Karabakh Defence Army, based on the principles of discipline and central command. The NKR Defence Army succeeded in liberating previously captured territories from Azerbaijan and, during military engagements, took over a few regions bordering the NKR that had been used as firing lines. With the mediation of Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and the CIS Interparliamentary Council, Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia signed the Bishkek Document in the capital city of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, on May 5, 1994. According to that document, parties to the conflict agreed to a cease-fire, effective from May 12, 1994 to date. In March 1992, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe joined the settlement process of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh. In 1997 the institute of co-chairmanship of Russia, France, and USA of the OSCE Minsk Group was created, which since then has been the only agreed format, with the mandate from the OSCE to conduct mediating activities for the peaceful settlement of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict. The Nagorno Karabakh Republic is committed to the peaceful settlement of the conflict with the full participation of official representatives of the NKR in all stages of the negotiation process. The peaceful settlement of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh and the international recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic will serve for the establishment of stability and long-lasting peace in the region.  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s