The Republic of Artsakh (/ˈɑːrtsɑːx/; Armenian: Արցախի Հանրապետություն, Artsakhi Hanrapetut'yun), or simply Artsakh, also known by its second official name, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (/nəˌɡɔːrnoʊ kɑːrəˈbɑːk/), is a de facto independent country in the South Caucasus that is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. The region is currently 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 (though in reality, in much of the area, it is Armenia that maintains a military presence), 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.
Republic of Artsakh
Artsakhi Hanrapetut'yun (Armenian)
Recognized by 3 non-UN member states
and largest city
|Government||Unitary presidential republic|
|Independence from the Soviet Union|
|2 September 1991|
|3 non-UN members|
|11,458 km2 (4,424 sq mi)|
• 2015 census
|GDP (PPP)||2018 estimate|
|$2.6 billion (n/a)|
• Per capita
|Time zone||UTC+4 (AMT)|
|Calling code||+374 47c|
|ISO 3166 code||AM|
|Internet TLD||.am, .հայ|
According to Armenian and Western specialists, inscriptions dating to the Urartian period mention the region under a variety of names: "Ardakh", "Urdekhe", and "Atakhuni". In speaking about Armenia in his Geography, the classical historian Strabo refers to an Armenian region which he calls "Orchistene", which again is believed to be a Greek version of the old name of Artsakh.
According to another hypothesis put forth by David M. Lang, the ancient name of Artsakh possibly derives from the name of King Artaxias I of Armenia (190–159 BC), founder of the Artaxiad Dynasty and the kingdom of Greater Armenia.
The earliest record of the region covered by modern-day Artsakh is from Urartian inscriptions referring to the region as Urtekhini. It is unclear if the region was ever ruled by Urartu, but it was in close proximity to other Urartian domains. It may have been inhabited by Caspian tribes and/or by Scythians.
After decades of raids by the Cimmerians, Scythians, and the Medes, Urartu finally collapsed with the rise of the Median Empire, and shortly after, the geopolitical region previously ruled as Urartu re-emerged as Armenia. By the 5th century BC, Artsakh was part of Armenia under the Orontid Dynasty. It would continue to be part of the Kingdom of Armenia under the Artaxiad Dynasty, under which Armenia became one of the largest realms in Western Asia. At its greatest extent, the Great King of Armenia, Tigranes II, built several cities named after himself in regions he considered particularly important, one of which was the city he built in Artsakh.
Following wars with the Romans and Persians, Armenia was partitioned between the two empires. Artsakh was removed from Persian Armenia and included into the neighbouring satrapy of Arran. At this time, the population of Artsakh consisted of Armenians and Armenicized aborigines, though many of the latter were still cited as distinct ethnic entities. The dialect of Armenian spoken in Artsakh was among the earliest ever recorded dialects of Armenian, which was described around this time in the 7th century AD by a contemporary named Stephanos Siunetzi.
Artsakh would remain part of Arran throughout Persian rule, during the fall of Iran to the Muslims, and following the Muslim conquest of Armenia. Under the Arabs, most of the South Caucasus and the Armenian Highlands, including Iberia and Arran, would be unified into an emirate called Arminiya, under which Artsakh would continue to remain as part of Arran.
Despite being under Persian and Arab rule, many of the Armenian territories, including Artsakh, were governed by Armenian nobility. Arran would gradually disappear as a geopolitical entity, and its population would be assimilated by neighbouring ethnic groups with whom they shared a common culture and religion. Many Christians from Arran would form part of the ethnic composition of the Armenians living in modern-day Artsakh.
Fragmentation of Arab authority provided the opportunity for the resurgence of an Armenian state in the Armenian Highlands. One particular noble dynasty, the Bagratids, began annexing territories from other Armenian nobles, which, in the later half of the 9th century gave rise to a new Armenian kingdom which included Artsakh.
The new Kingdom wouldn't stay united for long, however, due to internal conflicts, civil wars, and external pressures, Armenia would often find itself fragmented between other noble Armenian houses, most notably the Mamikonian and Siunia families, the latter of which would produce a cadet branch known as the House of Khachen, named after their stronghold in Artsakh. The House of Khachen ruled the Kingdom of Artsakh in the 11th century as an independent kingdom under the protectorate of the Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia. Under the House of Khachen, the region historically called Artsakh would become synonymous with the name "Khachen".
Following wars with the Byzantine Empire, and with the arrival of Seljuk Turks in the later half of the 11th century, the Kingdom of Armenia collapsed, and Artsakh became the autonomous Principality of Khachen, ruled by the House of Hasan-Jalalyan, within the Kingdom of Georgia for a short time until the Mongols would acquire the region. Although the Armenians of Artsakh would not rule the lands as fully sovereign entities, the mountainous geography of the location would allow them to maintain a semi-independent or autonomous status within other realms, such as the Timurid, Kara Koyunlu, and Ak Koyunlu realms.
During this time, the lands to the west of the Kura river up to the eastern slopes of the Zangezur mountain range would become known as Karabakh, with the lands of the Principality of Khachen corresponding to the highlands. During the period of Mongol domination, a great number of Armenians left the lowlands of Karabakh and sought refuge in the mountainous heights of the region.
The Principality of Khachen was eventually divided amongst five Armenian princes, known as meliks, who collectively became known as the Five Melikdoms of Karabakh (literally "five principalities of Karabakh"; also referred to as Khamsa, meaning "five" in Arabic).
In the 16th century, Karabakh came under Iranian rule for the first time in almost a millennium with the rise of the Safavid Empire, within which the territory of modern-day Artsakh became part of the Province of Karabakh. The Armenian princes continued to rule autonomously over the highlands of Karabakh during this time.
In the mid-18th century, the whole of Karabakh became a semi-independent khanate called the Karabakh Khanate which lasted for about 75 years until the Russian Empire advanced into the region in 1806 and formally annexed it from Iran in 1813. The Armenian princes lost their status as princes (meliks) in 1822.
Following the collapse of the Russian Empire during World War I, Transcaucasia became the stage of wars between every political entity that emerged in the region (Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia) and their neighbors (Ottoman Empire). The newly formed Republic of Armenia (declared on 28 May 1918) claimed most of the highlands of Karabakh, which was also claimed by the newly formed Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. Assistance from the Republic of Armenia to Karabakh was limited as it found itself fighting enemies on all fronts, but the Armenian irregulars in Zangezur and the territories formerly known as Khachen (Artsakh) managed to maintain their control over the lands, consistently fighting off offensives from Azerbaijan and quelling Muslim uprisings from within. Azerbaijan maintained control of the lowlands of Karabakh and some regions between Zangezur and Artsakh.
Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the British Empire established itself in Azerbaijan, and advocated that all of Karabakh (including Zangezur and Artsakh) should be part of Azerbaijan until the boundaries can be decided upon peacefully at the upcoming Paris Peace Conference of 1919, but the battles did not cease until the Red Army from Russia began reclaiming the former territories of the Russian Empire and created Soviet Azerbaijan out of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in 1920. The Armenians of Zangezur and Artsakh had consistently maintained control of the region and intended to unite with Armenia during the entirety of the two years of chaos, with Azerbaijan only temporarily occupying parts of the regions at certain times. The fall of Azerbaijan gave Armenia the opportunity to properly unite with the Armenian irregulars in Zangezur and Artsakh, but they were taken by the Red Army on 26 May 1920. The rest of Armenia fell to the Red Army shortly after.
The Bolsheviks tried to end the centuries-long rivalry between Russia and Turkey, and in 1921, Joseph Stalin formally transferred the Armenian-populated highlands of Karabakh to Soviet Azerbaijan to try to placate Turkey, though the majority of Zangezur remained within Soviet Armenia. Under these circumstances, Soviet Armenia and Soviet Azerbaijan were admitted to the Soviet Union on 20 December 1922. In December 1920 under Soviet pressure central authorities issued a statement that Karabakh, Zangezur and Nakhjivan were all transferred to Armenian control. Stalin (then commissar for nationalities) made the decision public on December 2, but the Azerbaijani leader Narimanov later denied the transfer.
The inclusion of Artsakh within Soviet Azerbaijan caused an uproar amongst Armenians, which led to the creation of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast within Soviet Azerbaijan on 7 July 1923 (implemented in November 1924). Although the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh continued to desire reunification with Armenia, the conflict was largely dormant during the Soviet era.
During the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was revitalized. The Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh declared their independence as the Republic of Mountainous Karabakh with the intention of reunifying with the newly independent Armenia. The declaration was rejected by the newly independent Azerbaijan, leading to the Nagorno-Karabakh War from 20 February 1988 to 12 May 1994, resulting in ceasefire in May 1994.
The results of war for Azerbaijan were harsh. The war led to severe refugee crisis in Azerbaijan. Almost 300,000 refugees arrived from Armenia from 1998. Depending on the source, the internally displaced people leaving their homes in Nagorno Karabakh and surrounding areas amount 600,000 and 800,000 people.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict illustrates the violation of the important principle of international law. Armenia violated the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Although Armenia denies the fact their troops were present during the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, Human Rights Watch concludes that the presence of Armenian troops in Azerbaijan makes the conflict an armed conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Artsakh is a presidential democracy (in the middle of transforming from a semi-presidential one, after the 2017 referendum). The Prime Minister's post was abolished and the executive power is now residing with the President who is both the head of state and head of government. The president is directly elected for a maximum of two-consecutive five-year terms. The current President is Bako Sahakyan. On 19 July 2012, Sahakyan was re-elected for a second term. He was again re-elected to a third term on 19 July 2017.
The National Assembly is a unicameral legislature. It has 33 members who are elected for 5-year terms. Elections take place within a multi-party system; in 2009, the American NGO Freedom House ranked the Republic of Artsakh above the republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan with respect to civil and political rights. Five parties have members in the parliament: the Free Motherland party has 15 members, ARF has 8 members, Democratic Party of Artsakh has 7 members, Movement 88 has 2 members and the National Revival party has one member. A number of non-partisan candidates have also taken part in the elections, with some success; in 2015, two of the 33 members to the National Assembly took their seats without running under the banner of any of the established political parties in the republic. Elections in Artsakh are not recognised by international bodies such as the European Union and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, as well as numerous individual countries, who called them a source of increased tensions.
On 3 November 2006, the then-President of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Arkadi Ghukasyan, signed a decree to hold a referendum on a draft Nagorno-Karabakh constitution. It was held on 10 December of the same year and voters overwhelmingly approved the new constitution. According to official preliminary results, with a turnout of 87.2%, as many as 98.6 percent of voters approved the constitution. The First article of the document described the then Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as "a sovereign, democratic legal and social state". More than 100 non-governmental international observers and journalists who monitored the poll evaluated it positively, stating that it was held to a high international standard.
However, the vote was criticised harshly by inter-governmental organisations such as the European Union, OSCE and GUAM, which rejected the referendum, deeming it illegitimate. The EU announced it was "aware that a 'constitutional referendum' has taken place," but emphasised its stance that only a negotiated settlement between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenians could bring a lasting solution. Secretary General of the Council of Europe Terry Davis asserted that the poll "will not be recognized... and is therefore of no consequence". In a statement, the OSCE chairman in office Karel De Gucht voiced his concern that the vote would prove harmful to the ongoing conflict settlement process, which, he said, had shown "visible progress" and was at a "promising juncture".
Another referendum was held on 20 February 2017, with an 87.6% vote in favour on a 76% turnout for instituting a new constitution. This constitution among other changes turned the government from a semi-presidential to a fully presidential model, and changed the official name from the "Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh" to the "Republic of Artsakh"/"Artsakh Republic". The new name implies a claim to the areas controlled beyond the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, and the Presidential system allows for quicker decisions on security matters. The referendum is seen as a response to the 2016 Nagorno-Karabakh clashes.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is based in Stepanakert. Since no UN member or observer currently recognizes Artsakh, none of its foreign relations are of an official diplomatic nature. However, the Republic of Artsakh operates five permanent Missions and one Bureau of Social-Politic Information in France. Artsakh's Permanent Missions exist in Armenia, Australia, France, Germany, Russia, the United States, and one for Middle East countries based in Beirut. The goals of the offices are to present the Republic's positions on various issues, to provide information and to facilitate the peace process.
The Republic of Artsakh is neither a member or observer of the UN or any of is specialized agencies. However, it is a member of the Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations, commonly known as the "Commonwealth of Unrecognized States".
The sovereign status of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic is not recognized by any United Nations member state (including Armenia), but has been recognized by Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The region is internationally recognized as an integral part of Azerbaijan.
According to the Constitution of Artsakh the army is under the civilian command of the government. The Artsakh Defense Army was officially established on 9 May 1992 as a defense against Azerbaijan. It fought the Azerbaijani army to a ceasefire on 12 May 1994. Currently the Artsakh Defense Army consists of around 18,000–20,000 officers and soldiers. However, only 8,500 citizens from Artsakh serve in the Artsakh army; some 10,000 come from Armenia. There are also 177–316 tanks, 256–324 additional fighting vehicles, and 291–322 guns and mortars. Armenia supplies arms and other military necessities to Artsakh. Several battalions of Armenia's army are deployed directly in the Artsakh zone on occupied Azerbaijani territory.
The Artsakh Defense Army fought in Shusha in 1992, opening the Lachin corridor between The Republic of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh (1992), and staged the defense of the Martakert front from 1992–1994.
The region of Nagorno-Karabakh is considered to be one of the most heavily mined regions of the former Soviet Union. Mines were laid from 1991 to 1994 by both conflicting parties in the Nagorno-Karabakh War. The United Nations and the U.S. have estimated the number of mines in Nagorno-Karabakh at 100,000. There have been many civilian casualties resulting from the land mines. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) claims that 123 people have been killed and over 300 injured by landmines near the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh since a 1994 truce ended a six-year conflict between ethnic Armenian and Azerbaijani forces. The HALO Trust – UK based demining NGO, is the only other organisation conducting demining in Nagorno Karabakh.
Today, Artsakh is a de facto independent state, calling itself the Republic of Artsakh. It has close relations with the Republic of Armenia and uses the same currency, the dram. According to Human Rights Watch, "from the beginning of the Karabakh conflict, Armenia provided aid, weapons, and volunteers. Armenian involvement in Artsakh escalated after a December 1993 Azerbaijani offensive. The Republic of Armenia began sending conscripts and regular Army and Interior Ministry troops to fight in Artsakh." The politics of Armenia and the de facto Artsakh are so intertwined that Robert Kocharyan served as the first President of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, from 1994-1997, then as prime minister of Armenia from 1997 to 1998, and then as the second President of Armenia, from 1998 to 2008.
However, Armenian governments have repeatedly resisted internal pressure to unite the two, due to ongoing negotiations under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group. In his case study of Eurasia, Dov Lynch of the Institute for Security Studies of WEU believes that "Karabakh's independence allows the new Armenian state to avoid the international stigma of aggression, despite the fact that Armenian troops fought in the war between 1991–94 and continue to man the Line of Contact between Karabakh and Azerbaijan." Lynch also cites that the "strength of the Armenian armed forces, and Armenia's strategic alliance with Russia, are seen as key shields protecting the Karabakh state by the authorities in Stepanakert". Some sources consider Artsakh as functioning de facto as a part of Armenia.
At present, the mediation process is at a standstill, with the most recent discussions in Rambouillet, France, yielding no agreement. Azerbaijan has officially requested Armenian troops to withdraw from all disputed areas of Azerbaijan outside Nagorno-Karabakh, and that all displaced persons be allowed to return to their homes before the status of Karabakh can be discussed. Armenia does not recognise Azerbaijani claims to Nagorno-Karabakh, and believes the territory should have self-determination. Both the Armenian and Artsakhi governments note that the independence of Artsakh was declared around the time the Soviet Union dissolved and its members became independent. The Armenian government insists that the government of Artsakh be part of any discussions on the region's future, and rejects ceding occupied territory or allowing refugees to return before talks on the region's status.
Representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan, France, Russia and the United States met in Paris and in Key West, Florida, in early 2001. Despite rumours that the parties were close to a solution, the Azerbaijani authorities – both during Heydar Aliyev's period of office, and after the accession of his son Ilham Aliyev in the October 2003 elections – have firmly denied that any agreement was reached in Paris or Key West.
Further talks between the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents, Ilham Aliyev and Robert Kocharyan, were held in September 2004 in Astana, Kazakhstan, on the sidelines of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) summit. Reportedly, one of the suggestions put forward was the withdrawal of the occupying forces from the Azeri territories adjacent to Artsakh and then holding referendums (plebiscites) in Artsakh and Azerbaijan proper regarding the future status of the region. On 10 and 11 February 2006, Kocharyan and Aliyev met in Rambouillet, France, to discuss the fundamental principles of a settlement to the conflict. Contrary to the initial optimism, the Rambouillet talks did not produce any agreement, with key issues such as the status of Artsakh and whether Armenian troops would withdraw from Kalbajar still being contentious.
Talks were held at the Polish embassy in Bucharest in June 2006. Again, American, Russian, and French diplomats attended the talks that lasted over 40 minutes. Earlier, Armenian President Kocharyan announced that he was ready to "continue dialogue with Azerbaijan for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and with Turkey on establishing relations without any preconditions".
According to Armenian foreign minister, Vardan Oskanyan, no progress was made at this latest meeting. Both presidents failed to reach a consensus on the issues from the earlier Rambouillet conference. He noted that the Kocharyan-Aliyev meeting was held in a normal atmosphere. "Nevertheless," he added, "the foreign ministers of the two countries are commissioned to continue talks over settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and try to find common points before the next meeting of the presidents."
The major disagreement between both sides at the Bucharest conference was the status of Artsakh. Azerbaijan's preferred solution would be to give Artsakh the "highest status of autonomy adopted in the world". Armenia, on the other hand, endorsed a popular vote by the inhabitants of Artsakh to decide their future, a position that was also taken by the international mediators. On 27 June, the Armenian foreign minister said both parties agreed to allow the residents of Artsakh to vote regarding the future status of the region. The Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs officially refuted that statement. According to Azeri opposition leader Isa Gambar, however, Azerbaijan did indeed agree to the referendum. Still, nothing official has confirmed this yet.
The ongoing "Prague Process" overseen by the OSCE Minsk Group was brought into sharp relief in the summer of 2006 with a series of rare public revelations seemingly designed to jump-start the stalled negotiations. After the release in June of a paper outlining its position, which had until then been carefully guarded, U.S. State Department official Matthew Bryza told Radio Free Europe that the Minsk Group favored a referendum in Karabakh that would determine its final status. The referendum, in the view of the OSCE, should take place not in Azerbaijan as a whole, but in Artsakh only. This was a blow to Azerbaijan, and despite talk that their government might eventually seek a more sympathetic forum for future negotiations, this has not yet happened.
On 10 December 2007 Azerbaijan's deputy foreign minister said Azerbaijan would be prepared to conduct anti-terrorist operations in Nagorno-Karabakh against alleged bases of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Armenian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Vladimir Karapetian previously rejected the allegations as "fabricated" and suggested the accusations of the PKK presence were a form of provocation.
In 2008, Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev stated that "Nagorno-Karabakh will never be independent; the position is backed by international mediators as well; Armenia has to accept the reality" and that "in 1918, Yerevan was granted to the Armenians. It was a great mistake. The khanate of Iravan was the Azeri territory, the Armenians were guests here". On the other hand, in 2009, the president of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Bako Sahakyan declared that "Artsakh will never be a part of Azerbaijan. Artsakh security should never be an article of commerce either. As to other issues, we are ready to discuss them with Azerbaijan.". In 2010 president of Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan in his speech in the Chatham House of the British Royal Institute of International Affairs declared that "Karabakh was never a part of independent Azerbaijan: it was annexed to Azerbaijan by a decision of the Soviet Union party body. The people of Karabakh never put up with this decision, and upon the first opportunity, seceded from the Soviet Union fully in line with the laws of the Soviet Union and the applicable international law".
On 14 March 2008, the United Nations General Assembly passed a non-binding resolution by a vote of 39 to 7, with 100 abstentions, reaffirming Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, expressing support for that country's internationally recognised borders and demanding the immediate withdrawal of all Armenian forces from all occupied territories there. The resolution was supported mainly by members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and GUAM, Azerbaijan is a member in both groups, as well as other nations facing breakaway regions. The resolution was opposed by all three members of the OSCE Minsk Group.
On 20 May 2010, the European Parliament adopted a resolution "on the need for an EU strategy for the South Caucasus", which states that EU must pursue a strategy to promote stability, prosperity and conflict resolution in the South Caucasus. The resolution "calls on the parties to intensify their peace talk efforts for the purpose of a settlement in the coming months, to show a more constructive attitude and to abandon preferences to perpetuate the status quo created by force and with no international legitimacy, creating in this way instability and prolonging the suffering of the war-affected populations; condemns the idea of a military solution and the heavy consequences of military force already used, and calls on both parties to avoid any further breaches of the 1994 ceasefire". The resolution also calls for withdrawal of Armenian forces from all occupied territories of Azerbaijan, accompanied by deployment of international forces to be organised with respect of the UN Charter in order to provide the necessary security guarantees in a period of transition, which will ensure the security of the population of Artsakh and allow the displaced persons to return to their homes and further conflicts caused by homelessness to be prevented; and states that the EU believes that the position according to which Artsakh includes all occupied Azerbaijani lands surrounding Artsakh should rapidly be abandoned. It also notes "that an interim status for Nagorno-Karabakh could offer a solution until the final status is determined and that it could create a transitional framework for peaceful coexistence and cooperation of Armenian and Azerbaijani populations in the region."
On 26 June 2010, the presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group's Co-Chair countries, France, Russia, and United States made a joint statement, reaffirming their "commitment to support the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan as they finalize the Basic Principles for the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict".
After Armenia established diplomatic relations with Tuvalu in March 2012, it was speculated in the press that Armenia was attempting to persuade the small island nation to be the first state to recognise Artsakh's independence. Tuvalu recognised two other disputed states in the Caucasus, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the previous year.
No UN member states have recognised Artsakh, although some other unrecognised states have done so. Various sub-national administrations in the United States of America have issued calls for recognition of Artsakh by their national government.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has resulted in the displacement of 597,000 Azerbaijanis (this figure includes 230,000 children born to internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 54,000 who have returned) including Artsakh, and 220,000 Azeris, 18,000 Kurds and 3,500 Russians fled from Armenia to Azerbaijan from 1988 to 1989. The Azerbaijani government has estimated that 63 percent of IDPs lived below the poverty line as compared to 49% of the total population. About 154,000 lived in the capital, Baku. According to the International Organization for Migration, 40,000 IDPs lived in camps, 60,000 in underground dugout shelters, and 20,000 in railway cars. Forty-thousand IDPs lived in EU-funded settlements and UNHCR provided housing for another 40,000. Another 5,000 IDPs lived in abandoned or rapidly deteriorating schools. Others lived in trains, on roadsides in half-constructed buildings, or in public buildings such as tourist and health facilities. Tens of thousands lived in seven tent camps where poor water supply and sanitation caused gastro-intestinal infections, tuberculosis, and malaria.
The government required IDPs to register their place of residence in an attempt to better target the limited and largely inadequate national and international assistance due to the Armenian advocated and US imposed restrictions on humanitarian aid to Azerbaijan. Many IDPs were from rural areas and found it difficult to integrate into the urban labor market. Many international humanitarian agencies reduced or ceased assistance for IDPs citing increasing oil revenues of the country. The infant mortality among displaced Azerbaijani children is 3–4 times higher than in the rest of the population. The rate of stillbirth was 88.2 per 1,000 births among the internally displaced people. The majority of the displaced have lived in difficult conditions for more than 13 years.
280,000 persons—virtually all ethnic Armenians who fled Azerbaijan during the 1988–1993 war over the disputed region of Artsakh—were living in refugee-like circumstances in Armenia. Some left the country, principally to Russia. Their children born in Armenia acquire citizenship automatically. Their numbers are thus subject to constant decline due to departure, and de-registration required for naturalization. Of these, about 250,000 fled Azerbaijan-proper (areas outside Nagorno-Karabakh); approximately 30,000 came from Nagorno-Karabakh. All were registered with the government as refugees at year's end.
The Artsakh Republic is mountainous, a feature which has given it its former name (from the Russian for "Mountainous/Highland Karabakh"). It is 11,500 km2 (4,440 sq mi) in area, bordering Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran. The highest peaks in the country are Mount Mrav at 3,340 metres (10,958 ft), and Mount Kirs at 2,725 metres (8,940 ft). The largest water body is the Sarsang reservoir, and the major rivers are the Terter and Khachen rivers. The country is on a plateau which slopes downwards towards the east and southeast, with the average altitude being 3,600 ft (1,097 m) above sea level. Most rivers in the country flow towards the Artsakh Valley.
The climate is mild and temperate. The average temperature is 11 °C (52 °F), which fluctuates annually between 22 °C (72 °F) in July and −1 °C (30 °F) in January. The average precipitation can reach 710 mm (28 in) in some regions, and it is foggy for over 100 days a year.
Over 2,000 kinds of plants exist in Artsakh, and more than 36% of the country is forested. The plant life on the steppes consists mostly of semi-desert vegetation, while subalpine zone and alpine tundra ecosystems can be found above the forest in the highlands and mountains.
The Republic of Artsakh has eight administrative divisions. Their territories include the five districts of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO), the Shahumyan Region in the Azerbaijan SSR which is currently under Azerbaijani control, and the seven districts around the former NKAO that are under the control of the Artsakhi forces.
Following the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic's declaration of independence, the Azerbaijani government abolished the NKAO and created Azerbaijani districts in its place. As a result, some of the Republic of Artsakh's divisions correspond with the Azerbaijani districts, while others have different borders. A comparative table of the current divisions of Artsakh and the corresponding districts of Azerbaijan follows:
|#||Artsakh Division||Population (2005)||Azerbaijan Rayon(s)||Sahar (city)||Former NKAO?|
|1||Shahumyan Region||2,560||Southern Goranboy, Western Kalbajar||Kalbajar (formerly Shahumian)||No|
|2||Martakert Region||18,963||Eastern Kalbajar, Western Tartar, portion of Agdam||Martakert||Partially|
|3||Askeran Region||16,979||Khojali, portion of Agdam||Askeran||Partially|
|4||Martuni Region||23,157||Northern Khojavend, portion of Agdam||Martuni||Partially|
|5||Hadrut Region||12,005||Southern Khojavend, Jabrayil, portion of Fizuli||Hadrut||Partially|
|7||Kashatagh Region||9,763||Lachin, Qubadli, Zangilan||Berdzor||No|
The Republic of Artsakh claims Shahumian, which was not part of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast. Representatives from Shahumian declared independence along with Artsakh, and the proclamation of Artsakh includes the Shahumian region within its borders. Unlike the rest of Artsakh, Shahumian remains under Azerbaijani control.
In 2002, the country's population was 145,000, made up of 95% Armenians and 5% others. In March 2007, the local government announced that its population had grown to 138,000. The annual birth rate was recorded at 2,200–2,300 per year, an increase from nearly 1,500 in 1999.
OSCE report, released in March 2011, estimates the population of the "seven occupied territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh" to be 14,000, and states "there has been no significant growth in the population since 2005."
According to age group: 15,700 (0–6), 25,200 (7–17) 75,800 (18–59) and 21,000 (60+)
Population by province (2006):
|Year||Population (000s)||Urban (000s)||Rural (000s)||Birth rate||Death rate||NGR||Net immigration|
Ethnic Groups of the Nagorno-Karabach AO (1926–1989) and the Republic of Artsakh (2015) according to census data
|census 1926||census 1939||census 1959||census 1970||census 1979||census 1989||census 2005||census 2015 1|
|The territorial borders of the Nagorno-Karabakh AO and the Artsakh Republic are different.|
Certain Eastern Orthodox and Evangelical denominations also exist. However, military authorities prohibited any Christian sect activity in Artsakh, for the reason that they would preach pacifism among population.
The Gandzasar monastery ("Գանձասար" in Armenian) is a historical monastery in Artsakh. Another is Dadivank Monastery (Armenian: Դադիվանք) also Khutavank (Armenian: Խութավանք – Monastery on the Hill) that was built between the 9th and 13th century. Artsakhi government's aim is to include the Gandzasar Monastery into the directory of the UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.
Ghazanchetsots Cathedral (built 1868–1888) (Սուրբ Ամենափրկիչ Ղազանչեցոց Եկեղեցի (Surb Amenap'rkich Ghazanchets'ots' Yekeghets'i) in Armenian), also known as the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the Shushi Cathedral, is an Armenian church located in Shusha. It is the main cathedral and headquarters of the Armenian Apostolic Church's "Diocese of Artsakh".
Just uphill from the cathedral in Shushi is the Kanach Zham (Green Church in Armenian) built in 1847.
Amaras Monastery (4th century) was a monastery was established by the foremost Armenian saint, St. Gregory the Enlightener, who baptized Armenia into the world's first Christian state in 301 AD. Amaras also hosted the first school where St. Mesrop Mashtots, the inventor of the Armenian alphabet, taught the new script to pupils, in the 5th century. The Amaras Monastery's location is in the Martuni District.
Saint Yeghishe Arakyal Monastery (5th–13th centuries) commemorating St. Yeghishe, the famous evangelizer of Armenia's eastern lands. The church serves as a burial ground for the 5th century's King Vachagan II the Pious, the most well-known representative of the Arranshahik line of east Armenian monarchs. The monastery is located in the Martakert District.
Dadivank Monastery (13th century) is one of the most architecturally and culturally significant Monasteries in Artsakh. The western façade of Dadivank's Memorial Cathedral bears one of the most extensive Armenian lapidary (inscribed-in-stone) texts, and has one of the largest collection of Medieval Armenian frescoes. Dadivank is named after St. Dadi, a disciple of Apostle Thaddeus who preached the Holy Gospel in Artsakh in the 1st century. St. Dadi's tomb was later discovered by archeologists in 2007. The monastery is in the Shahumian District.
Bri Yeghtze Monastery (13th century) that centers on embedded khachkars, unique-to-Armenia stone memorials with engraved crosses. The monastery is located in the Martuni District.
Yerits Mankants Monastery (17th century) (meaning "three infants" in Armenian) is known for hosting the seat of Artsakh's rival clergy to that of the Holy See of Gandzasar. The monastery is located in the Martakert District.
Following the ceasefire, the Stepanakert-based administration launched various programs aimed at bringing in permanent Armenian settlers to the depopulated lands, including into regions previously populated by Azeris, with those that bordered Armenia – Lachin and Kalbajar – being the priority. Incentives in the form of free housing, access to property, social infrastructure, inexpensive or sometimes free electricity, running water, low taxes or limited tax exemptions were offered to new settlers.
Azerbaijan regards this as a violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Armenia became party in 1993, whereby "[t]he Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies". The ruling party of Azerbaijan accuses the Armenian side of artificially changing the demographic situation and the ethnic composition of the occupied region so that it can lay future claims to them, comparing this to the 1950s campaign of resettling diaspora Armenians in previously Azeri-populated locales in Soviet Armenia where Azeris were forcibly deported from in 1948–1950.
In 1979, the total Armenian population of the districts of Kalbajar, Lachin, Qubadli, Zangilan, Jabrayil, Fuzuli and Agdam was around 1,400 people. An OSCE fact-finding mission established at Azerbaijan's request visited these regions in February 2005 with the intention to assess the scale of the settlement attempts. The mission's findings showed that these districts had as of 2005 an overall population of 14,000 persons, mostly living in precarious social conditions. It consisted primarily of ethnic Armenians displaced from the non-conflict zones of Azerbaijan during the war. It was noted, however, that most of them had settled in the conflict zone after having lived in Armenia for several years and some held Armenian passports and even voted in Armenian elections. A smaller segment of the settlers were originally from the towns of Gyumri and Spitak in Armenia who had lived in temporary shelters following the devastating 1988 earthquake before moving to Karabakh, as well as a small number of natives of Yerevan who moved there for financial reasons. A field assessment mission revisited the region in October 2010, confirming that there had not been much growth in population or change in the living conditions of the settlers. The Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group who visited Nagorno-Karabakh, Kalbajar and Lachin in 2014 reported seeing signs of improvements in the infrastructure but could not observe any indications that the size of the population had changed in recent years.
By June 2015, an estimated 17,000 of Syria's once 80,000-strong Armenian population had fled the civil war and sought refuge in Armenia. David Babayan, spokesperson of the Artsakh leader Bako Sahakyan, confirmed that some of those refugees had been resettled in Artsakh. The Economist put the number of the resettled families at 30 as of June 2017. In December 2014, Armenian media cited local municipal authorities in stating that dozens of Syrian Armenian families had been resettled in the disputed zone, in particular in the city of Lachin and the village of Xanlıq in Qubadli. Azerbaijan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmar Mammadyarov expressed his concern over Armenia's attempts to change the demographic situation in the region and informed of his intention to raise this issue with the Minsk Group.
In February 2019, Armenia National Security Service director Artur Vanetsyan visited Nagorno-Karabakh amid public concern about Nikol Pashinyan's government alleged readiness to cede some of the Armenian-controlled territories as part of a peace settlement. Vanetsyan pointed out that settling Armenians and investing into infrastructural projects along the Iranian border, in the previously Azeri-populated regions outside of the former autonomous province, was "a clear message" to the international community that there would be no territorial concessions. He referred to the ongoing settlement efforts as a method of "guaranteeing security". Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry reacted by qualifying Vanetsyan's statement as an "attempt to undermine the peace talks and defy the work of the mediators" and vowed to address the issue to the UN and the OSCE.
The socio-economic situation of the Republic of Artsakh was greatly affected by the conflict. Yet, foreign investments are beginning to come. The origin of most venture capital comes from Armenians in Armenia, Russia, United States, France, Australia, Iran, and the Middle East.
Notably the telecommunications sector was developed with Karabakh Telecom investing millions of dollars in mobile telephony, spearheaded by a Lebanese company.
Copper and gold mining has been advancing since 2002 with development and launch of operations at Drmbon deposit. Approximately 27–28 thousand tons (wet weight) of concentrates are produced with average copper content of 19–21% and gold content of 32–34 g/t. Azerbaijan considers any mining operations in Nagorno-Karabakh illegal and has vowed to engage an international audit company to determine the damages suffered by Azerbaijan's state-run ore management company as a result. In 2018, the government of Azerbaijan announced that it was planning to appeal to an international court and the law enforcement agencies of the countries where the mining companies involved are registered.
The banking system is administered by Artsakhbank (a Yerevan-based Armenian bank fulfilling the functions of the state bank of Nagorno-Karabakh) and a number of other Armenian banks. The republic uses the Armenian dram.
Wine growing and processing of agricultural products, particularly wine (i.e., storage of wine, wine stuff, cognac alcohol) is one of the prioritized directions of the economic development.
The republic is developing a tourist industry geared to Armenia and the Armenian diaspora. The republic has been showing a major increase in tourists over the last several years, which keeps growing because of Artsakh's many cultural sights. There are currently nine hotels in Stepanakert. The Artsakh development agency says 4,000 tourists visited Artsakh in 2005. The figures rose to 8,000 in 2010 (excluding visitors from Armenia). The agency cooperates with the Armenia Tourism Development Agency (ATDA) as Armenia is the only way tourists (mainly Armenians) can access Artsakh. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Artsakh informs of continuous expansion visitors' geography.
The Tourism Development Agency of Artsakh was established in Yerevan as a non-governmental organisation in the Republic of Armenia to promote tourism further in Artsakh. It makes preparations for tour operators, travel agencies and journalists covering the region, and arranges for hotel services, shopping, catering, recreation centers.
Tourist attractions include:
Other tourist attractions include:
Janapar Trail is a marked trail through mountains, valleys and villages of Artsakh, with monasteries and fortresses along the way. The trail is broken into day hikes, which will bring tourists to a different village each night. The paths have existed for centuries, but now are marked specifically for hikers. The Himnakan Janapar (backbone trail), marked in 2007, leads from the northwest region of Shahumian to the southern town of Hadrut. Side trails and mini trails take one to additional parts of Artsakh. The important sites passed along this hike include Dadivank Monastery, Gandzasar monastery, Shushi, the Karkar Canyon with its high cliffs, Zontik Waterfall and the ruins of Hunot and Gtichavank monastery.
One of the noteworthy side trails is the Gtichavank Loop Trail. This loop starts from Togh Village.
The cost of staying in Artsakh is relatively cheap in comparison with the rest of the region and varies approximately between 25 – US$70 for a single person as of May, 2017.
However, those who travelled to Artsakh without Azerbaijani government's prior consent and permission will be denied entry to Azerbaijan since the country considers Artsakh their territory unlawfully occupied by Armenian army. Azerbaijani government also keeps and publishes online a list of foreign nationals who visited these occupied areas without prior approval. In late 2017, the list contained 699 names with additional details (date, country, profession, purpose of visit). The earliest entry recorded a visit to Artsakh that occurred on an unspecified date sometime between 1993-1996. The list includes many journalists and members of parliaments of foreign countries.
The transportation system had been damaged by the conflict, but has been noticeably improved during the last several years: the North–South Artsakh motorway alone has largely facilitated in the development of the transportation system.
The 169 kilometres (105 mi) Hadrut-Stepanakert-Askeran-Martakert motorway, the locals say, is the lifeline of Artsakh. $25 million donated during the Hayastan All-Armenian Foundation telethons have been allotted for the construction of the road.
Stepanakert Airport, the sole civilian airport of the Republic of Artsakh, located about 8 kilometres (5 miles) east of the capital, has been closed since the onset of the war more than twenty years ago. However, the government was pressing ahead with plans to reopen the airport as of early 2011, and raised about 1 billion drams ($2.8 million) for its reconstruction from unspecified "charitable sources". It began building a new airport terminal and repairing the runway in late 2009. In any case, its unresolved status makes direct air communication with other countries all but impossible according to IATA conventions. Though originally scheduled to launch the first commercial flights on 9 May 2011, Artsakh officials postponed a new reopening date throughout the whole of 2011. In May 2012, the director of the Artsakh Civil Aviation Administration, Tigran Gabrielyan, announced that the airport would begin operations in mid-2012. However the airport still remains closed due to political reasons.
Artsakh's school system was severely damaged because of the conflict. But the government of the Republic of Artsakh with considerable aid from the Republic of Armenia and with donations from the Armenian diaspora, has rebuilt many of the schools. The republic has around 250 schools of various sizes, with more than 200 lying in the regions. The student population estimated at more than 20,000 study, with almost half in the capital city of Stepanakert.
Yerevan University of Management also opened a branch in Stepanakert.
"We Are Our Mountains" (Armenian: Մենք ենք մեր սարերը) by Sargis Baghdasaryan is a monument located in Stepanakert. The sculpture is widely regarded as a symbol of the de facto independent Republic of Artsakh. It is a large monument from tuff of an old Armenian man and woman hewn from rock, representing the mountain people of Artsakh. It is also known as Tatik yev Papik(Տատիկ և Պապիկ) in Armenian. The sculpture is featured prominently on Artsakh's coat of arms.
Artsakh State Museum is the historical museum of the Republic of Artsakh. Located at 4 Sasunstsi David Street, in Stepanakert, the museum offers an assortment of ancient artifacts and Christian manuscripts. There are also more recent items, ranging in date from the 19th century to World War II and from events of the Karabakh Independence War.
Artsakh has its own brand of popular music. As Artsakh question became a pan-Armenian question, Artsakh music was further promoted worldwide.
Many nationalist songs, performed by Artsakhi artists, as well as artists from Republic of Armenia and the Armenian diaspora, show support for the Artsakh independence movement; videos for the songs incorporate footage of Artsakhi military campaigns. These videos are posted to sites such as YouTube, where they often generate conflicting nationalist Armenian and Azerbaijani comments.
Azat Artsakh is the official newspaper of the Republic of Artsakh.
Sports in the Republic of Artsakh are organised by the Artsakh Ministry of Culture and Youth. Due to the non-recognition of Artsakh, sports teams from the country cannot compete in most international tournaments.
Football is the most popular sport in Artsakh. Stepanakert has a well-built football stadium. Since the mid-1990s, football teams from Artsakh started taking part in some domestic competitions in the Republic of Armenia. The Lernayin Artsakh represents the city of Stepanakert. The Artsakh football league was launched in 2009. The Artsakh national football team was formed in 2012 and played their first competitive match against the Abkhazia national football team in Sokhumi, a match that ended with a result of 1–1 draw. The return match between the unrecognized teams took place at the Stepanakert Stadium, on 21 October 2012, when the team from Artsakh defeated the Abkhazian team 3–0.
There is also interest in other sports, including basketball and volleyball. Sailing is practiced in the town of Martakert.
Artsakh sports teams and athletes also participate in the Pan-Armenian Games organised in the Republic of Armenia.
|Date||English name||Local name||Remarks|
|31 Dec – 1 Jan||New Year's Day|
|20 Feb||Artsakh Revival Day|
|8 March||Women's Day|
|7 April||Motherhood and Beauty Day|
|24 April||Genocide Remembrance Day|
|1 May||Worker's Solidarity Day|
|9 May||Victory, Armed Forces & Shushi Liberation Day|
|28 May||First Armenian Republic Day|
|1 June||Children's Day|
|29 June||Fallen Soldiers and Missing in Action Memorial Day|
|2 September||Independence Day|
|7 December||Armenian Earthquake Memorial Day|
|10 December||Independence Referendum Day
Indeed, Nagorno-Karabakh is de facto part of Armenia.
Following the war, the territories that fell under Armenian control, in particular Mountainous Karabakh itself, were slowly integrated into Armenia. Officially, Karabakh and Armenia remain separate political entities, but for most practical matters the two entities are unified.
A cuneiform inscription of the Urartu king Sardur II, discovered near the village of Tsovk, is proof that his troops reached the country of Urtekhini (Artsakh).
The Armenian dialect of Artsakh is one of the earliest ever recorded Armenian dialects. The grammarian Stephanos Siunetzi first described it in the 7th century AD.
Indeed, Nagomo- Karabakh is de facto part of Armenia.
While internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory, the enclave has declared itself an independent republic but is administered as a de facto part of Armenia.
Following the war, the territories that fell under Armenian control, in particular Mountainous Karabakh itself, were slowly integrated into Armenia. Officially, Karabakh and Armenia remain separate political entities, but for most practical matters the two entities are unified.
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.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." President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has stated that 80% of the soldiers in Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army are actually Armenian citizens.Coat of arms of the Republic of Artsakh
The emblem of the Republic of Artsakh consists of an eagle wearing an ornamented crown. On the chest of the eagle is a shield with a panorama of a mountain range and under it a vertically set Flag of Artsakh. Over this are the two stone heads of "Granny and Gramps" (Տատիկ և Պապիկ, Tatik yev Papik) from the We Are Our Mountains monument in Stepanakert, the capital of Artsakh. The eagle's feet clutch various agricultural products including wheat and grapes. The outer rim is made up of a golden circular ribbon bearing inscription "Լեռնային Ղարաբաղի Հանրապետություն-Արցախ" ("Artsakh Republic of Mountainous Karabakh") in Eastern Armenian.Elections in Artsakh
Artsakh elects on a national level a president and a parliament. The president is elected for a five term by the people.
The National Assembly (Azgayin Zhoghov) has 33 members, 16 elected for a five-year term in single seat constituencies and 17 by proportional representation.
Nagorno Karabakh has a multi-party system, with numerous parties in which no one party often has a chance of gaining power alone, and parties must work with each other to form coalition governments. None of the elections have been recognized by any country or political entity. The Minsk Group believes the elections harm the peace talksFlag of the Republic of Artsakh
On June 2, 1992, the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh, a de facto independent republic internationally recognized as part of 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.Law enforcement in the Republic of Artsakh
Law enforcement in the Republic of Artsakh is inconsistently enforced, as the region is a de facto independent republic officially part of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and is governed by the unrecognized National Assembly. According to a report prepared by British parliamentarian and rapporteur David Atkinson, presented to Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), "the borders of Azerbaijan were internationally recognised at the time of the country being recognised as independent state in 1991," and "the territory of Azerbaijan included the Nagorno-Karabakh region." Therefore, law enforcement in Nagorno-Karabakh would in theory be the responsibility of the Azerbaijan police.
However, the community of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic created, on May 9, 1992, the Artsakh Defense Army, uniting previously disorganized self-defense units which were formed in the early 1990s in order to protect the ethnic Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh from the attacks by the military of the Soviet and Azerbaijani forces. Currently Nagorno-Karabakh Defence Army is around 15,000-20,000 well-trained and equipped officers and soldiers. It consists of infantry, tanks, artillery and anti-aircraft systems. Since the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994, most of Nagorno-Karabakh and several regions of Azerbaijan around it remain under joint Armenian and Artsakh Defense Forces control, thus splitting the responsibility unevenly between security forces of the two parties, the OSCE Minsk Group mission, and the United Nations.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.List of airports in the Republic of Artsakh
This is a list of airports in the Republic of Artsakh.
The majority-Armenian populated Republic of Artsakh declared independence in 1991, Azerbaijan claims it as part of its territory. It is de facto independent but not diplomatically recognized by any nation and is still considered a de jure part of Azerbaijan.List of cities and towns in Artsakh
This is a list of cities and towns in the de facto independent Artsakh, ordered by population.
In Artsakh, a city/town (Armenian: քաղաք k'aghak' ) is not defined by the size of its population. The 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.List of representative offices of Artsakh
This page lists the representative offices of Republic of Artsakh. Artsakh is a de facto independent republic in the Caucasus region that remains recognized only by three other states with limited recognition, all being members of the Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations. However, the vast majority of countries recognize Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan - nevertheless, it maintains several representative offices abroad.List of universities in Artsakh
This is a list of universities in Republic of Artsakh.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.Public holidays in the Republic of Artsakh
The following is a list of public holidays in the Republic of Artsakh.Telephone numbers in the Republic of Artsakh
Telephone numbers in the Republic of Artsakh use several ranges owned by Armenia.
Format: +374 XX XXXXXVehicle registration plates of the Republic of Artsakh
Vehicle registration plates of the Republic of Artsakh have black characters on a rectangular white background. Current plates are European standard 520 mm × 110 mm, and are composed of two numbers, two letters in the middle, and two or three other numbers. At the left side is located the international code "AM" with an oval car plaque and, sometimes, the national flag of Armenia.
Starting from 6 August 2014 a new design of license plates was implemented. The license plates have a flag of Armenia on the left side, a security hologram and a machinery readable Data Matrix Code. In 2014, the style and fonts were changed to FE-Schrift, and the letters and digits now have the same font size. In addition, a silver identifier band has been added on the right side of the flag and code.
Armenian registration plates with region codes 22 and 90 are used in Artsakh (for example, "(AM) 90 SO 123").Visa policy of Artsakh
Visitors to Artsakh must obtain a visa unless they come from one of the visa exempt countries.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”.
|UN member states|
|UN observer states|
Special areas of
|States with limited recognition|