Nagorno-Karabakh (/nəˈɡɔːrnoʊ kɑːrəˈbɑːk/ nə-GOR-noh kar-ə-BAHK; Russian: Нагорно-Карабах, lit. 'mountainous Karabakh'; Armenian: Լեռնային Ղարաբաղ; Azerbaijani: Dağlıq Qarabağ), also known as Artsakh (Armenian: Արցախ), is a landlocked region in the South Caucasus, within the mountainous range of Karabakh, lying between Lower Karabakh and Zangezur, and covering the southeastern range of the Lesser Caucasus mountains. The region is mostly mountainous and forested.
Nagorno-Karabakh is a disputed territory, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but most of the region is governed by the Republic of Artsakh (formerly named Nagorno-Karabakh Republic), a de facto independent state with Armenian ethnic majority established on the basis of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. Azerbaijan has not exercised political authority over the region since the advent of the Karabakh movement in 1988. Since the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994, representatives of the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been holding peace talks mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group on the region's disputed status.
The region is usually equated with the administrative borders of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast comprising an area of 4,400 square kilometres (1,700 sq mi). The historical area of the region, however, encompasses approximately 8,223 square kilometres (3,175 sq mi).
Location and extent of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (lighter color).
|Religion||Christianity (Armenian Apostolic Church)|
|4,400 km2 (1,700 sq mi)|
• Water (%)
• 2013 estimate
• 2010 census
|29/km2 (75.1/sq mi)|
• Summer (DST)
The prefix Nagorno- derives from the Russian attributive adjective nagorny (нагорный), which means "highland." The Azerbaijani names of the region include the similar adjectives dağlıq (mountainous) or yuxarı (upper). Such words are not used in the Armenian name, but they have appeared in the official name of the region during the Soviet era as Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast. Other languages apply their own wording for mountainous, upper, or highland; for example, the official name used by the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in French is Haut-Karabakh, meaning "Upper Karabakh."
The names for the region in the various local languages all translate to "mountainous Karabakh", or "mountainous black garden":
The Armenians living in the area often refer to Nagorno-Karabakh as Artsakh (Armenian: Արցախ), using the name of the 10th province of the ancient Kingdom of Armenia. Urartian inscriptions (9th–7th centuries BC) use the name Urtekhini for the region. Ancient Greek sources called the area Orkhistene.
The ancient population of the region consisted of various autochthonous local and migrant tribes who were mostly non-Indo-Europeans. According to the prevailing western theory, these natives intermarried with Armenians who came to the region after its inclusion into Armenia in the 2nd or, possibly earlier, in 4th century BC. Other scholars suggest that the Armenians settled in the region as early as in the 7th century BC.
In around 180 BC, Artsakh became one of the 15 provinces of the Armenian Kingdom and remained so until the 4th century. While formally having the status of a province (nahang), Artsakh possibly formed a principality on its own — like Armenia's province of Syunik. Other theories suggest that Artsakh was a royal land, belonging to the King of Armenia directly. Tigran the Great, King of Armenia, (ruled from 95–55 BC), founded in Artsakh one of four cities named "Tigranakert" after himself. The ruins of the ancient Tigranakert, located 30 miles (48 km) north-east of Stepanakert, are being studied by a group of international scholars.
In 387 AD, after the partition of Armenia between Byzantium and Sassanid Persia, two Armenian provinces Artsakh and Utik became part of the Sassanid satrapy of Caucasian Albania, which, in turn, came under strong Armenian religious and cultural influence. At the time the population of Artsakh and Utik consisted of Armenians and several Armenized tribes.
Armenian culture and civilization flourished in the early medieval Nagorno-Karabakh. In the 5th century, the first-ever Armenian school was opened on the territory of modern Nagorno-Karabakh—at the Amaras Monastery—by the efforts of St. Mesrop Mashtots, the inventor of the Armenian alphabet. St. Mesrop was very active in preaching Gospel in Artsakh and Utik. Overall, Mesrop Mashtots made three trips to Artsakh and Utik, ultimately reaching pagan territories at the foothills of the Greater Caucasus. The 7th-century Armenian linguist and grammarian Stephanos Syunetsi stated in his work that Armenians of Artsakh had their own dialect, and encouraged his readers to learn it. In the same 7th century, Armenian poet Davtak Kertogh writes his Elegy on the Death of Grand Prince Juansher, where each passage begins with a letter of Armenian script in alphabetical order. The only comprehensive history of Caucasian Albania was written in Armenian, by the historian Movses Kaghankatvatsi.
Around the mid 7th century, the region was conquered by the invading Muslim Arabs through the Muslim conquest of Persia. Subsequently, it was ruled by local governors endorsed by the Caliphate. According to some sources, in 821, the Armenian prince Sahl Smbatian revolted in Artsakh and established the House of Khachen, which ruled Artsakh as a principality until the early 19th century. According to other sources, Sahl i Smbatean "was of the Zamirhakan family of kings," and in the year 837-838, he acquired sovereignty over Armenia, Georgia, and Albania. The name "Khachen" originated from Armenian word "khach," which means "cross". By 1000 the House of Khachen proclaimed the Kingdom of Artsakh with John Senecherib as its first ruler. Initially Dizak, in southern Artsakh, formed also a kingdom ruled by the ancient House of Aranshahik, descended of the earliest Kings of Caucasian Albania. In 1261, after the daughter of the last king of Dizak married the king of Artsakh, Armenian prince Hasan Jalal Dola, the two states merged into one Armenian Principality of Khachen. Subsequently, Artsakh continued to exist as a de facto independent principality.
In the 15th century, the territory of Karabakh was part of the states ruled subsequently by the Kara Koyunlu and Ak Koyunlu Turkic tribal confederations. According to Abu Bakr Tihrani, during the period of Jahan Shah (1438–1468), the ruler of Kara Koyunlu, Piri bey Karamanli held the governorship of Karabakh. However, according to Robert H. Hewsen, the Turkoman lord Jahan Shah (1437–67) assigned the governorship of upper Karabakh to local Armenian princes, allowing a native Armenian leadership to emerge consisting of five noble families led by princes who held the titles of meliks. These dynasties represented the branches of the earlier House of Khachen and were the descendants of the medieval kings of Artsakh. Their lands were often referred to as the Country of Khamsa (five in Arabic). In a Charter (2 June 1799) of the Emperor Paul I titled "About their admission to Russian suzerainty, land allocation, rights and privileges", it was noted that the Christian heritage of the Karabakh region and all their people were admitted to the Russian suzerainty. However, according to Robert Hewsen, the Russian Empire recognized the sovereign status of the five princes in their domains by the charter of the Emperor Paul I dated 2 June 1799.
The Armenian meliks were granted supreme command over neighboring Armenian principalities and Muslim khans in the Caucasus by the Iranian king Nader Shah, in return for the meliks' victories over the invading Ottoman Turks in the 1720s. These five principalities  in Karabakh were ruled by Armenian families who had received the title Melik (prince) and were the following:
From 1501 to 1736, during the existence of the Safavid Empire, the province of Karabakh was governed by Ziyadoglu Gajar's dynasty. Ziyadoglu Gajar's dynasty ruled the province of Karabakh until Nader Shah took over Karabakh from their rule. The Armenian meliks maintained full control over the region until the mid-18th century. In the early 18th century, Iran's Nader Shah took Karabakh out of control of the Ganja khans in punishment for their support of the Safavids, and placed it under his own control In the mid-18th century, as internal conflicts between the meliks led to their weakening, the Karabakh Khanate was formed. The Karabakh khanate, one of the largest khanates under Iranian suzerainty, was headed by Panah-Ali khan Javanshir. For the reinforcement of the power of Karabakh khanate, Khan of Karabakh, Panah-Ali khan Javanshir, built up “the fortress of Panahabad (today Shusha)” in 1751. During that time, Otuziki, Javanshir, Kebirli, and other Turkic tribes constituted majority of the overall population.
Karabakh (including modern-day Nagorno-Karabakh), became a protectorate of the Russian Empire by the Kurekchay Treaty, signed between Ibrahim Khalil Khan of Karabakh and general Pavel Tsitsianov on behalf of Tsar Alexander I in 1805, according to which the Russian monarch recognized Ibrahim Khalil Khan and his descendants as the sole hereditary rulers of the region. However, its new status was only confirmed following the outcome of the Russo-Persian War (1804-1813), when through the loss in the war, Persia formally ceded Karabakh to the Russian Empire per the Treaty of Gulistan (1813), before the rest of Transcaucasia was incorporated into the Empire in 1828 by the Treaty of Turkmenchay, which came as an outcome of the Russo-Persian War (1826-1828).
In 1822, 9 years after passing from Iranian to Russian control, the Karabakh Khanate was dissolved, and the area became part of the Elisabethpol Governorate within the Russian Empire. In 1823 the five districts corresponding roughly to modern-day Nagorno-Karabakh, was 90.8% Armenian.
The present-day conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh has its roots in the decisions made by Joseph Stalin and the Caucasian Bureau (Kavburo) during the Sovietization of Transcaucasia. Stalin was the acting Commissar of Nationalities for the Soviet Union during the early 1920s, the branch of the government under which the Kavburo was created. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Karabakh became part of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, but this soon dissolved into separate Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian states. Over the next two years (1918–1920), there were a series of short wars between Armenia and Azerbaijan over several regions, including Karabakh. In July 1918, the First Armenian Assembly of Nagorno-Karabakh declared the region self-governing and created a National Council and government. Later, Ottoman troops entered Karabakh, meeting armed resistance by Armenians.
After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, British troops occupied Karabakh. The British command provisionally affirmed Khosrov bey Sultanov (appointed by the Azerbaijani government) as the governor-general of Karabakh and Zangezur, pending final decision by the Paris Peace Conference. The decision was opposed by Karabakh Armenians. In February 1920, the Karabakh National Council preliminarily agreed to Azerbaijani jurisdiction, while Armenians elsewhere in Karabakh continued guerrilla fighting, never accepting the agreement. The agreement itself was soon annulled by the Ninth Karabagh Assembly, which declared union with Armenia in April.
In April 1920, while the Azerbaijani army was locked in Karabakh fighting local Armenian forces, Azerbaijan was taken over by Bolsheviks. On 10 August 1920, Armenia signed a preliminary agreement with the Bolsheviks, agreeing to a temporary Bolshevik occupation of these areas until final settlement would be reached. In 1921, Armenia and Georgia were also taken over by the Bolsheviks who, in order to attract public support, promised they would allot Karabakh to Armenia, along with Nakhchivan and Zangezur (the strip of land separating Nakhchivan from Karabakh). However, the Soviet Union also had far-reaching plans concerning Turkey, hoping that it would, with a little help from them, develop along Communist lines. Needing to placate Turkey, the Soviet Union agreed to a division under which Zangezur would fall under the control of Armenia, while Karabakh and Nakhchivan would be under the control of Azerbaijan. Had Turkey not been an issue, Stalin would likely have left Karabakh under Armenian control. As a result, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast was established within the Azerbaijan SSR on 7 July 1923.
With the Soviet Union firmly in control of the region, the conflict over the region died down for several decades. With the beginning of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the question of Nagorno-Karabakh re-emerged. Accusing the Azerbaijani SSR government of conducting forced Azerification of the region, the majority Armenian population, with ideological and material support from the Armenian SSR, started a movement to have the autonomous oblast transferred to the Armenian SSR. The oblast's borders were drawn to include Armenian villages and to exclude as much as possible Azerbaijani villages. The resulting district ensured an Armenian majority. In August 1987, Karabakh Armenians sent a petition for union with Armenia with tens of thousands of signatures to Moscow.
On 13 February 1988, Karabakh Armenians began demonstrating in their capital, Stepanakert, in favour of unification with the Armenian republic. Six days later they were joined by mass marches in Yerevan. On 20 February, the Soviet of People's Deputies in Karabakh voted 110 to 17 to request the transfer of the region to Armenia. This unprecedented action by a regional soviet brought out tens of thousands of demonstrations both in Stepanakert and Yerevan, but Moscow rejected the Armenians' demands. On 22 February 1988, the first direct confrontation of the conflict occurred as a large group of Azeris marched from Agdam against the Armenian populated town of Askeran, "wreaking destruction en route". The confrontation between the Azeris and the police near Askeran degenerated into the Askeran clash, which left two Azeris dead, one of them reportedly killed by an Azeri police officer, as well as 50 Armenian villagers, and an unknown number of Azeris and police injured. Large numbers of refugees left Armenia and Azerbaijan as violence began against the minority populations of the respective countries.
On 29 November 1989, direct rule in Nagorno-Karabakh was ended and the region was returned to Azerbaijani administration. The Soviet policy backfired, however, when a joint session of the Armenian Supreme Soviet and the National Council, the legislative body of Nagorno-Karabakh, proclaimed the unification of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia. In 1989, Nagorno-Karabakh had a population of 192,000. The population at that time was 76 percent Armenian and 23 percent Azerbaijanis, with Russian and Kurdish minorities. On 26 November 1991 Azerbaijan abolished the status of Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, rearranging the administrative division and bringing the territory under direct control of Azerbaijan.
On 10 December 1991, in a referendum boycotted by local Azerbaijanis, Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh approved the creation of an independent state. A Soviet proposal for enhanced autonomy for Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan satisfied neither side, and a full-scale war subsequently erupted between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh, with the latter receiving support from Armenia. According to Armenia's former president, Levon Ter-Petrossian, the Karabakh leadership approach was maximalist and "they thought they could get more."
The struggle over Nagorno-Karabakh escalated after both Armenia and Azerbaijan attained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. In the post-Soviet power vacuum, military action between Azerbaijan and Armenia was heavily influenced by the Russian military. Furthermore, both the Armenian and Azerbaijani military employed a large number of mercenaries from Ukraine and Russia. As many as one thousand Afghan mujahideen participated in the fighting on Azerbaijan's side. There were also fighters from Chechnya fighting on the side of Azerbaijan, as well heavy artillery and tanks provided to Armenia by Russia. Many survivors from the Azerbaijani side found shelter in 12 emergency camps set up in other parts of Azerbaijan to cope with the growing number of internally displaced people due to the Nagorno-Karabakh war.
By the end of 1993, the conflict had caused thousands of casualties and created hundreds of thousands of refugees on both sides. By May 1994, the Armenians were in control of 14% of the territory of Azerbaijan. At that stage, for the first time during the conflict, the Azerbaijani government recognized Nagorno-Karabakh as a third party in the war, and started direct negotiations with the Karabakh authorities. As a result, a cease-fire was reached on 12 May 1994 through Russian negotiation.
Despite the ceasefire, fatalities due to armed conflicts between Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers continued. On 25 January 2005, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted PACE Resolution 1416, which condemned alleged ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijanis. On 15–17 May 2007 the 34th session of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Organization of Islamic Conference adopted resolution № 7/34-P, considering the occupation of Azerbaijani territory as the aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan and recognizing the actions against Azerbaijani civilians as a crime against humanity, and condemning the destruction of archaeological, cultural and religious monuments in the occupied territories. The 11th session of the summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference held on 13–14 March 2008 in Dakar adopted resolution No. 10/11-P (IS). In the resolution, OIC member states condemned the occupation of Azerbaijani lands by Armenian forces and Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, alleged ethnic cleansing against the Azeri population, and charged Armenia with the "destruction of cultural monuments in the occupied Azerbaijani territories". On 14 March of the same year the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution № 62/243 which "demands the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of all Armenian forces from all occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan". On 18–20 May 2010, the 37th session of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Organization of Islamic Conference in Dushanbe adopted another resolution condemning the aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan, recognizing the actions against Azerbaijani civilians as a crime against humanity and condemning the destruction of archaeological, cultural, and religious monuments in occupied territories. On 20 May of the same year, the European Parliament in Strasbourg adopted the resolution on "The need for an EU Strategy for the South Caucasus" on the basis of the report by Evgeni Kirilov, the Bulgarian member of the Parliament. The resolution states in particular that "the occupied Azerbaijani regions around Nagorno-Karabakh must be cleared as soon as possible". On 26 January 2016, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted Resolution 2085, which deplored the fact that the occupation by Armenia of Nagorno-Karabakh and other adjacent areas of Azerbaijan creates humanitarian and environmental problems for the citizens of Azerbaijan, condemned alleged ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijanis and Assembly requested immediate withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the region concerned.
2 April 2016 saw reports of renewed military activities between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces. The Armenian Defense Ministry alleged that Azerbaijan launched an offensive to seize territory in the region. At least 30 soldiers were killed during the fighting and a Mil Mi-24 helicopter and tank were also destroyed, with 12 of the fallen soldiers belonging to the Azerbaijani forces and the other 18 belonging to the Armenian forces, as well as an additional 35 Armenian soldiers reportedly wounded.
Nagorno-Karabakh has a total area of 4,400 square kilometres (1,699 sq mi). Approximately half of Nagorno-Karabakh terrain is over 950 metres (3,120 ft) above sea level. The borders of Nagorno-Karabakh resemble a kidney bean with the indentation on the east side. It has tall mountain ridges along the northern edge and along the west and a mountainous south. The part near the indentation of the kidney bean itself is a relatively flat valley, with the two edges of the bean, the provinces of Martakert and Martuni, having flat lands as well. Other flatter valleys exist around the Sarsang reservoir, Hadrut, and the south. The entire region lies, on average, 1,100 metres (3,600 ft) above sea level. Notable peaks include the border mountain Murovdag and the Great Kirs mountain chain in the junction of Shusha Rayon and Hadrut. The territory of modern Nagorno-Karabakh forms a portion of the historic region of Karabakh, which lies between the rivers Kura and Araxes, and the modern Armenia-Azerbaijan border. Nagorno-Karabakh in its modern borders is part of the larger region of Upper Karabakh.
Nagorno-Karabakh’s environment vary from steppe on the Kura lowland through dense forests of oak, hornbeam, and beech on the lower mountain slopes to birchwood and alpine meadows higher up. The region possesses numerous mineral springs and deposits of zinc, coal, lead, gold, marble, and limestone. The major cities of the region are Stepanakert, which serves as the capital of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, and Shusha, which lies partially in ruins. Vineyards, orchards, and mulberry groves for silkworms are developed in the valleys.
The earliest concrete numbers about the population of the whole of Karabakh is from the census of 1823 concerning the abolition of the Karabakh Khanate. In the territory of the former Armenian principalities, 90.8% of villages were recorded as being Armenian, while 9.2% were recorded as Tatar or Kurd. The population of the former Armenian principalities accounted for approximately 8.4% of the population of the whole of Karabakh.
During rule of the Soviet Union, the Yevlax–Ağdam–Stepanakert line connected the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region with the main part of Azerbaijan. After the Nagorno-Karabakh war and the abandonment of Ağdam, the line’s service was cut back to service only between Yevlax and Kətəlparaq, without any present section at the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. The former railway line between Kətəlparaq and Stepanakert has been almost completely destroyed.
The (Tbilisi–Gyumri–)Yerevan–Nakhchivan–Horadiz–Şirvan(–Baku) main railway was also dismantled from the NKR between Ordubad and Horadiz, and a by-line from Mincivan to the Armenian city of Kapan. Currently, the Azerbaijani trains only travel to Horadiz. The Ordubad–Horadiz section has been demolished, leaving the NKR with no intact, active railway line in their territory. The railway at the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic still operates, but it is separated from the main Azerbaijani lines, and only has connection to Iran.
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Serious historians and geographers agree that after the fall of the Safavids, and especially from the mid-eighteenth century, the territory of the South Caucasus was composed of the khanates of Ganja, Kuba, Shirvan, Baku, Talesh, Sheki, Karabagh, Nakhichivan and Yerevan, all of which were under Iranian suzerainty.
The Administrative divisions of the Republic of Artsakh are of two types; provinces and cities. There are seven provinces and one special administrative city - the capital of the Republic.Municipalities in Artsakh are divided into 2 categories: urban communities and rural communities. Currently, there are 10 towns (urban) and 322 villages (rural) in Artsakh.Armenian-controlled territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh
The Armenian-controlled territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh are areas formally part of Azerbaijan and situated outside the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, which are since the end of the Nagorno Karabakh War controlled by the military forces of the de facto Republic of Artsakh supported by Armenia.Artsakh Defense Army
The Artsakh Republic Defense Army (Armenian: Արցախի Հանրապետության պաշտպանության բանակ, translit. Artsakhi Hanrapetut’yan pashtpanut’yan banak) is the formal defense force of the largely unrecognized Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). Established in 1992, it united previously disorganized self-defense units which were formed in the early 1990s with the avowed goal of protecting the ethnic Armenian population of Artsakh from the attacks by the Soviet and Azerbaijani armed forces. The Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army is currently composed of around 20,000 well-trained and equipped officers and soldiers and maintains a "constant state of readiness, undergoing more serious combat training and operational exercises than any other former Soviet army."Flag of the Republic of Artsakh
On June 2, 1992, the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh, a de facto independent republic claimed by Azerbaijan, in the South Caucasus region, adopted a flag derived from the flag of Armenia, with only a white pattern added. A white, five-toothed, stepped pattern was added to the flag, beginning at the two verges of the flag's right side and meeting at a point equal to one-third of the distance from that side. The white pattern symbolizes the current separation of Artsakh from Armenia proper and its aspiration for eventual union with "the Motherland." This symbolizes the Armenian heritage, culture and population of the area, and represents Artsakh as a separated region of Armenia by the triangular shape and the zigzag cutting through the flag. The white pattern on the flag is also similar to the designs used on rugs, a symbol of national identity. The ratio of the flag's breadth to its length is 1:2, same as the Armenian Tricolor.Foreign relations of Artsakh
The Republic of Artsakh is a republic with limited recognition in the South Caucasus region. Republic of Artsakh controls most of the territory of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast and some of the surrounding area. It is recognized by only three other non-UN member states, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria. The rest of the international community recognizes Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan. In November 2012, a member of Uruguay's foreign relations committee stated that his country could recognize Nagorno-Karabakh's independence. In 2012, Armenia and Tuvalu established diplomatic relations and it was perceived that Tuvalu may recognize Nagorno Karabakh’s independence. Also in 2012, the Parliament of New South Wales, an Australian state, called upon the Australian government to recognise Nagorno-Karabakh. In September 2014, the Basque Parliament in Spain adopted a motion supporting Nagorno-Karabakh's right to self-determination.
At the present, no diplomatic missions of other countries exist in Artsakh. On the other hand, the Republic has built a small network of representative offices around the world. Currently it has representative offices in 7 countries.History of Artsakh
Artsakh is located in the southern part of the Lesser Caucasus range, at the eastern edge of the Armenian Highlands, encompassing the highland part of the wider geographical region known as Karabakh. Under Russian and Soviet rule, the region came to be known as Nagorno-Karabakh, meaning "Mountainous Karabakh" in Russian. The name Karabakh itself (derived from Turkic and Persian, and literary meaning "Black Vineyard") was first employed in Georgian and Persian sources from the 13th and 14th centuries to refer to an Armenian principality known by modern historians as the Kingdom of Artsakh or Khachen.Currently, most of this area is under the control of the de facto Artsakh Republic, which has economic, political, and military support from Armenia, but the region is de jure recognized as part of Azerbaijan. The final status of the region is still a subject of negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This article encompasses the history of the region from the ancient to the modern period.List of United Nations Security Council resolutions on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Four UN Security Council Resolutions have been passed during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. These resolutions have not invoked Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.List of airlines of the Republic of Artsakh
This is a list of airlines in the Republic of Artsakh.
Republic of Artsakh has no active airlines.Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast
The Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast was an autonomous oblast within the borders of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, mostly inhabited by ethnic Armenians. It was divided into five raions or administrative divisions:
Mardakert District (NKAO)
Martuni District (NKAO)
Shusha District (NKAO)
Askeran District (NKAO)
Hadrut District (NKAO)Nagorno-Karabakh War
The Nagorno-Karabakh War was an ethnic and territorial conflict that took place in the late 1980s to May 1994, in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by the Republic of Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan. As the war progressed, Armenia and Azerbaijan, both former Soviet Republics, entangled themselves in a protracted, undeclared war in the mountainous heights of Karabakh as Azerbaijan attempted to curb the secessionist movement in Nagorno-Karabakh. The enclave's parliament had voted in favor of uniting itself with Armenia and a referendum, boycotted by the Azerbaijani population of Nagorno-Karabakh, was held, whereby most of the voters voted in favor of independence. The demand to unify with Armenia, which began anew in 1988, began in a relatively peaceful manner; in the following months, as the Soviet Union's disintegrated, it gradually grew into an increasingly violent conflict between Armenians and Azerbaijanis, resulting in claims of ethnic cleansing by both sides.Inter-ethnic clashes between the two broke out shortly after the parliament of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) in Azerbaijan voted to unify the region with Armenia on 20 February 1988. The declaration of secession from Azerbaijan was the final result of a territorial conflict regarding the land. As Azerbaijan declared its independence from the Soviet Union and removed the powers held by the enclave's government, the Armenian majority voted to secede from Azerbaijan and in the process proclaimed the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.Full-scale fighting erupted in early 1992. International mediation by several groups including the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) failed to bring an end resolution that both sides could work with. In early 1993, Armenian forces captured regions outside the enclave itself, threatening the involvement of other countries in the region. By the end of the war in 1994, the Armenians were in full control of the enclave (with the exception of the Shahumyan Region) in addition to surrounding areas of Azerbaijan proper, most notably the Lachin Corridor, a mountain pass that links Nagorno-Karabakh with mainland Armenia. A Russian-brokered ceasefire was signed in May 1994, but regular peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group have failed to result in a peace treaty. This has left the Nagorno-Karabakh area in a state of legal limbo, with the Republic of Artsakh remaining de facto independent but internationally unrecognized while Armenian forces currently control approximately 9% of Azerbaijan's territory outside the enclave. As many as 230,000 Armenians from Azerbaijan and 800,000 Azerbaijanis from Armenia and Karabakh have been displaced as a result of the conflict.Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a territorial and ethnic conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts, which are de facto controlled by the self-declared Republic of Artsakh, but are internationally recognized as de jure part of Azerbaijan. The conflict has its origins in the early 20th century. Under the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin decided to make the Nagorno-Karabakh region, historically Armenian and with a majority-Armenian population, an autonomous oblast in Soviet Azerbaijan. The present conflict began in 1988, when the Karabakh Armenians demanded that Karabakh be transferred from Soviet Azerbaijan to Soviet Armenia. The conflict escalated into a full-scale war in the early 1990s.
A cease-fire signed in 1994 provided for two decades of relative stability, which significantly deteriorated along with Baku’s increasing frustration with the status quo, at odds with Yerevan’s efforts to cement it. A four day escalation in April 2016 marks the worst fighting to date since the cease-fire. Since then, the danger of resumed large-scale hostilities has greatly increased.National Assembly (Artsakh)
The National Assembly of the Republic of Artsakh (Armenian: Արցախի Հանրապետության Ազգային ժողով, Artsakhi Hanrapetut'yan Azgayin zhoghov or simply Ազգային ժողով, ԱԺ, Azgayin zhoghov, AZh) is the legislative branch of the government of the Republic of Artsakh.Politics of Artsakh
Politics of Artsakh takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Artsakh is the head of state and the head of government, and of a multi-party system; as of 2009, American-based non-governmental organisation Freedom House ranks the Artsakh above both Armenia and Azerbaijan in terms of political and civil rights. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the Government and the National Assembly. The republic is de facto independent and de jure a part of Azerbaijan.
None of the elections in Artsakh are recognised by international bodies such as the OSCE Minsk Group, the European Union and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, as well as numerous individual countries, such as Azerbaijan and Turkey, who also condemned and called them a source of increased tensions.President of Artsakh
The President of Artsakh is the head of state and head of government of the de facto Republic of Artsakh.
In a constitutional referendum held in 2017, citizens of the Republic voted in favor of transforming Artsakh into a presidential system. On 19 July 2017 the National Assembly voted to elect the President for the next three years until the next general election which will be held in 2020. The incumbent, Bako Sahakyan, was re-elected. If it wasn’t for the amendment to the constitution, he would have had to step down in 2017 after serving two consecutive five-year terms.Prime Minister of Artsakh
The Prime Minister of Artsakh was the head of government of the unrecognized Republic of Artsakh between 1992 and 2017.
The position of Prime Minister was established in 1992, and was appointed by the head of state—the President. In a constitutional referendum held in 2017, citizens voted in favour of transforming Artsakh into a presidential system and the office of Prime Minister was abolished. The President become both the head of state and the head of government.This is a list of the Prime Ministers of the Republic of Artsakh.Religion in Artsakh
Religion in Artsakh is characterized by a largely homogeneous Armenian Apostolic population. Prior to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict a large population of Shia Islamic Azerbaijanis also populated the area. While ownership is disputed, most of the region is claimed and governed by the de facto independent Republic of Artsakh.Republic of Artsakh
The Republic of Artsakh (; Armenian: Արցախի Հանրապետություն, Artsakhi Hanrapetut'yun), or simply Artsakh, also known by its official name between 1991 and 2017, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (), is a de facto independent country in the South Caucasus that is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. The region is populated mostly by Armenians and the primary spoken language is Armenian. Artsakh controls most of the territory of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast and some of the surrounding area, giving it a border with Armenia to the west and Iran to the south. Its capital is Stepanakert.
The predominantly Armenian-populated region of Nagorno-Karabakh was claimed by both the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and the First Republic of Armenia when both countries became independent in 1918 after the fall of the Russian Empire, and a brief war over Nagorno-Karabakh broke out in 1920. The dispute was largely shelved after the Soviet Union established control over the area and created the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) within the Azerbaijan SSR in 1923. During the fall of the Soviet Union, the region re-emerged as a source of dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In 1991, a referendum held in the NKAO and the neighbouring Shahumian region resulted in a declaration of independence based on its right of self-determination. Large-scale ethnic conflict led to the 1991–1994 Nagorno-Karabakh War, which ended with a ceasefire.
Artsakh is a presidential democracy (in the middle of transforming from a semi-presidential one, after the 2017 referendum) with a unicameral legislature. Some have said that its reliance on Armenia means that, in many ways, it functions de facto as part of Armenia. The country is very mountainous, averaging 1,097 metres (3,599 ft) above sea level. The population is predominantly Christian, most being affiliated with the Armenian Apostolic Church. Several historical monasteries are popular with tourists, mostly from the Armenian diaspora, as most travel can take place only between Armenia and Artsakh.Stepanakert
Stepanakert (Armenian: Ստեփանակերտ Step'anakert; Eastern Armenian pronunciation: [əstɛpʰanaˈkɛɾt]), Khankendi (Azerbaijani: Xankəndi) and originally called Vararakn (Armenian: Վարարակն), is the capital and the largest city of the de facto Republic of Artsakh. The Republic has no international recognition, being deemed part of the Republic of Azerbaijan by most countries. As of 2015, the population of Stepanakert is 55,200.Women in the Republic of Artsakh
The women in Nagorno-Karabakh are, in general, composed of Armenian women, Azerbaijani (Azeri) women, and other ethnic groupings. This “blend of races” of women in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic resulted because, historically, Nagorno-Karabakh became a part of Azerbaijan after the fall and disintegration of the Soviet Union. However, after the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the 1988 to 1994, Nagorno-Karabakh is currently occupied and governed by Armenia. The declaration of independence by Nagorno-Karabakh had not been endorsed by Armenia and Azerbaijan. At present, Nagorno-Karabakh is not officially recognized as a de facto nation by the international community.For these reasons, some Nagorno-Karabakh women took roles in peacebuilding for the benefit of the place they are now calling as their country and home. The expanse belonging to what is now known geographically as Nagorno-Karabakh is still officially and technically considered as a part of Azerbaijan. Women's organizations based in both Azerbaijan and Armenia, are the key supporters for the peace building endeavor in Nagorno-Karabakh since 2004. Some of the organizations involved include the Women's Resource Center in Yerevan, Armenia and the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation.The efforts taken by the women of Nagorno-Karabakh include conducting peace building consultations and forums such as the “Nagorno-Karabakh women for peace and peaceful coexistence” conference in July 2002 which was held at Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh. The topics tackled during the conferences and forums incorporated the role of women as peacekeepers, the “consolidation of democracy” in the region, human rights situations in the area, enforcement of peaceful coexistence, analysis of the consequences of war and conflict, dialogue between communities, peaceful settlement of disagreements, protection of women and children, socio-economic and political issues, and “post-conflict rehabilitation of the region”.