Nagorno-karabakh Conflicts

Why is there a conflict?

The Karabakh conflict is the result of the 1923 erroneous decision by Soviet dictator Stalin to make a millennia-old Armenian province of Artsakh a part of Soviet Azerbaijan.

Throughout its Soviet history, Nagorno Karabakh strove to restore the injustice and reunite with Armenia, however, all the efforts were brutally suppressed by central government in Moscow and activist put in prison.

The 1988 became a turning point for the freedom movement. On February 20, 1988, a Special session of the NK council of people’s deputies petitioned the Azerbaijani and Armenian SSR on secession of the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast from Soviet Azerbaijan and its transfer to Soviet Armenia. The first democratic process within the Soviet area, the Nagorno Karabakh liberation movement faced fierce opposition by Soviet authorities; however, it caught attention of the whole USSR and world community. Freedom movements throughout the Soviet area became irreversible.

The Nagorno Karabakh peaceful aspirations were welcomed by many nations, including the United States. The Artsakh people considered political and social self-organization as the only option for overcoming the challenges they faced. Moreover, the Soviet Constitution, in particular, the April 3, 1990 USSR law on the procedure of secession of a Soviet Republic from the USSR, gave the autonomous entities the right to determine their political and legal status via popular referendum. Referendum took place in Nagorno Karabakh on December 10, 1991 with attendance of international observers. 98.9% of local population voted for formation of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. Thus, formation of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, and consequent declaration of independence on January 6, 1992, was implemented in a full compliance with the international law and then acting Soviet legislation. The 1991 referendum continued disintegration of the Soviet Empire and culminated in formation of two new independent states: the NKR and Azerbaijani Republic.

Unfortunately, from the very beginning Azerbaijani leadership refused to solve this issue in a civilized way and resorted to force. A wave of Armenian pogroms took place in major Azerbaijani towns, including capital Baku. This became the turning point which escalated peaceful movement into an armed confrontation. Azerbaijan’s aggressive stand and continuation of anti-Armenian actions culminated in a full-scale military aggression against Nagorno Karabakh, which claimed dozens of thousand lives and hundreds of thousand refugees from both sides. The ceasefire was mediated in 1994 and is still maintained due to a balance of powers in the region.


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