Fact Sheet: Nagorno-karabagh
Posted 03 March 2006 - 03:37 PM
ARMENIAN RESEARCH CENTER
The University of Michigan-Dearborn
Dearborn, MI 48128
The Autonomous Region of Mountainous Karabagh (also known in America as Nagorno-Karabagh) recently declared independence from Azerbaijan because of continued persecution, oppression, and human and civil rights violations by the Azeri Turks. It was attached to Azerbaijan as an Autonomous Region by Joseph Stalin in 1921 and has suffered under Azeri rule from that time onward.
Mountainous Karabagh had a pre-war population of approximately 200,000 people, 77% of whom were Christian Armenians. The remaining 23% were mainly Muslim Azeri Turks. Nagorno-Karabagh's capital is Stepanakert. It has an area of about 1,700 square miles, slightly smaller than the state of Delaware.
* On December 10, 1991, Nagorno-Karabagh held an independence referendum in which 82% of all voters participated, and 99% voted for independence.
* On January 6, 1992, the leaders of Nagorno-Karabagh declared independence as the Republic of Mountainous Karabagh (RMK).
* On January 8, 1992, Artur Mkrtchian was elected President and Oleg Yessaian as Prime Minister of Karabagh by Karabagh's Parliament. Note that this Presidency is not an independent office such as in the United States.
* On January 24, 1992, Karabagh's Parliament elected Georgi Petrosian to the office of Vice President.
* On April 14, Artur Mkrtchian died in an accidental weapons misfire. Georgi Petrosian became acting President.
* On May 8, the Karabagh Defense Forces took Shushi, a city in Karabagh overlooking Stepanakert, from which the Azeris had been shelling Stepanakert.
* On May 18, the Karabagh Defense Forces took Lachin and connected Karabagh to Armenia, thus breaking the Azeri economic blockade on Karabagh (however, Armenia's situation was not much better since it too was—and still is—under Azeri blockade).
* On June 12, following the June 7 election of Abulfez Elchibey as President of Azerbaijan, the Azeris launched a massive offensive that seized almost half of Karabagh by September. Beginning in late fall, the Karabagh Defense Forces retook nearly all of these territories and restored the political integrity of Karabagh by late March 1993.
* On March 27, 1993, the Karabagh Defense Forces, to forestall an Azeri spring offensive, launched attacks at two strategic Azeri cities, Kelbajar and Fizuli. They took Kelbajar on April 3, but were unable to take Fizuli. The capture of Kelbajar gave Karabagh a new connection to Armenia.
* On June 14, acting President Georgi Petrosian resigned as Armenian President Levon Ter Petrosian travels to Stepanakert to persuade the Presidium of Karabagh's Parliament to accept a new CSCE peace plan, which it does by a vote of 6 to 5. Garen Baburian became the new acting President.
* June through August 1993 was a time of confusion in Azerbaijan as Surat Huseinov led a revolt against Elchibey; Haidar Aliyev became the new President of Azerbaijan; and a short-lived Mughan-Talish Republic was declared in Lenkoran, a port city near the Iranian border.
* July 23 to September 4 1993, Karabagh Defense Forces take Agdam, Fizuli, Jebrail, and Horadiz (although Horadiz keeps changing hands), thus taking the war to the rest of Azerbaijan.
* From December 22, 1993, to November 1994, the re-formed Azeri army, stiffened by Turkish and MegaOil (renegade Americans) training; Ukrainian, Turkish, and Chinese weaponry; and Afghan mujaheddin, launched new unsuccessful attacks on Karabagh.
* In May of 1994 a tenuous cease-fire went into effect, which is still holding today.
* December 28, 1994, The Karabagh Parliament created an independent Presidency such as in the United States and elected Robert Kocharian to fill it the next day.
Historically Armenian, Nagorno-Karabagh was connected to Armenia in ancient times, a connection that was lost after the division of the Armenian Kingdom in 387 AD. With the rise of Islam in the seventh century, Karabagh fell under Arab rule, where it stayed for 300 years.
In the eleventh century, Karabagh came under the rule of the Bagratid Kings of Georgia, relatives of the Armenian Bagratids, who held it until the Mongol invasion. After 100 years of Mongol rule, Karabagh fell into Turkish hands, where it stayed until the Persians took power in the early 1600s.
In 1603, Shah Abbas the Great of Persia allowed local Armenian rule in Karabagh under five meliks (kings). These five kinglets, later joined—but not supplanted—by a Muslim khanate, survived until the Russian conquest of Karabagh in 1828.
Under Russian rule, a deliberate effort was made to link Karabagh economically with the "Baku Province," later to be named Azerbaijan. With the withdrawal of Russian power following the Russian democratic revolution in February/March of 1917, Karabagh reemerged as a state, governed by the Assembly of Karabagh Armenians.
The Azerbaijanis, who were trying to organize their own state, contested the Armenians' right to rule Karabagh, even though it was overwhelmingly Armenian. The Azeris first turned for help to the British occupation force led by General Dunsterville, then to the Ottoman army under Nuri *****, and finally to the Russian Bolsheviks. With foreign aid, they won out.
At first the Soviets returned Nagorno-Karabagh to Armenia; but after a brief period, Joseph Stalin gave it to Azerbaijan as an "autonomous region," and altered the boundaries so that Karabagh was cut off from Armenia and was smaller in size.
The next 70-plus years witnessed Azeri persecution of Armenians in an attempt to drive them out and replace them with Azeris, as was done in the Armenian territory of Nakhichevan.
In the Gorbachev era of glasnost, the Armenians brought the persecution of their brethren to the world's attention through massive peaceful demonstrations in Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia, in February 1988.
By openly and bravely protesting Soviet ethnic injustice for the first time, the reform movement in Nagorno-Karabagh ignited the independence movements in the Soviet Bloc of Eastern Europe. The "Karabagh Movement" is thus the grandfather of freedom not only in Eastern Europe but in the former USSR itself.
At that time the Armenians wanted to attach Nagorno-Karabagh to Armenia, to ensure its survival, but now they respect the wishes of the Nargorno-Karabagh Armenians to be independent. The independence movement has been met with appalling violence from the Azeris. In February 1988 there was a pogrom (massacre) against Armenians in Sumgait, a suburb of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. In November of 1988, there was a pogrom against Armenians in Kirovabad (now Ganja), in the interior of Azerbaijan. In 1989-90, there are joint Soviet-Azerbaijani forced deportations of Armenians living in towns and villages of Azerbaijan bordering Nagorno- Karabagh. In January of 1990, there was pogrom against Armenians in Baku itself.
When the Azeris began an outright military assault on the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabagh itself, they took up arms to defend their homes, their land, and their ancient culture. The Armenians are fighting for self-preservation and for the right of self- determination, while the Azeris are fighting to expel an ancient people from their historic homeland and to preserve power over a foreign province.
Today, a tenous cease-fire is in place and has been holding for the past 16 months. However, the Azeris number eight million and have a wealth of oil resources to draw upon in the coming years, and the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabagh only 160,000 and scant resources. Very little would prevent the Azeris from reopening hostilities and starting a full-scale war once the oil money enters its coffers. A genocide similar to that of 1915 is threatened unless the world takes an interest in and protects the lives of the embattled Armenian minority.
Despite numerous acts of provocation on the part of Azerbaijan—including a six-year-old blockade of Armenia—the Armenian government has studiously avoided being drawn into the war between the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabagh and the Azeri leaders in Baku. In October 1992, the US Congress enacted legislation banning direct US assistance to the government of Azerbaijan until the blockade is lifted and the aggression ends.
The six-year-old war has taken the lives of more than 16,000 people, and over 1,000,000 have been displaced. Azerbaijan currently has 600,000-1,000,000 refugees, Armenia 400,000 refugees, and Nagorno-Karabagh 60,000 refugees.
* The United States and the United Nations should recognize the independence of the Republic of Mountainous Karabagh.
* Azeri leaders and Turkish leaders should reduce belligerent talk and cease to incite their people to war.
* Azerbaijan should cease hiring mujaheddin and other foreign mercenaries.
* Turkey should no longer train and supply Azerbaijani troops and should cease threatening gestures towards Armenia.
* Azerbaijan and Turkey should cease their illegal blockades of Armenia and Karabagh, which have caused untold suffering and death for the civilian population of Armenia.
* A permanent truce must be agreed upon and enforced.
* United Nations troops should be sent in to monitor a self- determination plebiscite.
The current situation is one of "no peace, no war." Negotiations continue, but with Azerbaijan insisting on the principle of "territorial integrity" (despite the fact that Eritrea was recognized by the world community as independent from Ethiopia after a war), little progress has been made.
April 3, 1996
Posted 20 January 2014 - 11:25 AM
17:42 20/01/2014 » SOCIETY
Head of KGB in Azerbaijan about pogroms of Armenians in Baku
In January 1990, in Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan SSR, pogroms of Armenian were being carried out by the Azerbaijani nationalists for a week. Information about these events are mentioned in the book written by the former KGB of Azerbaijan SSR chairman Vagif Huseynov; excerpts of the book are published by the "Haqqin.az" portal.
Former Chairman of KGB of Azerbaijani SSR writes that during two weeks crowds of Azerbaijani nationalists who were led by Khalil Rza and Vekila Hajiyev were going to ministries and governmental agencies with lists of Armenians who were holding jobs.
Huseynov notes while describing the situation: "Pogroms of apartments of those who have Armenian nationality continue. In Baku airport the youth groups (40-50 people) beat Armenians, or rather to say, those whom among the passengers they consider to be Armenians. In Narimanov district of Baku the NFA demands the withdrawal of all military units. Otherwise, they promise to attack and seizure the weapons. "
The publication notes that on January 14, in 1990 Huseinov participated in a meeting with First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan SSR A. Vezirov. The meeting was also attended by Yevgeny Primakov, newly arrived member of Presidential Council of the USSR, the Secretary of the CCCP Andrei Girenko as well as Deputy Interior Minister USSR Liskauskas, commander of the Internal troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of USSR Y. V. Shatalin, deputy chairman of the KGB G.E. Ageev. All them criticized the law enforcement bodies for inaction.
Liskauskas immediately rejected the proposal of introducing a curfew in Baku. E. Primakov stated that there is an agreement with the senior administration on transfering the reserves and on their usage. Then he notices, "Yesterday, we once again pondered all the pros and cons and came to a decision to refrain from violent methods and to try to resolve the situation by political means again."
After the meeting Huseynov told Yevgeny Primakov, the chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, and Vezirov that it would be better to join the leaders of the Popular Front of Azerbaijan and the leadership of the Republic’s KGB to the negotiation processes. They had promised to think over the proposal. I did not receive invitation to participate in a meeting neither then, nor later.
"January 15. Pogroms in Baku continue. Police are trying to counteract in some special cases. At the rally many people are screaming for the formation of volunteer groups to enter the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region. Hundreds have signed, but no one moves to NKAR yet, though there are talks over this issue for two months already," Huseynov writes.
The material also provides a daily summary: there are 11 people killed in Baku, 19 cases of pogroms, 2 arsons. KGB and Interior Ministry received 239 phone calls for help in a day.
The next day, V. Huseynov received a call from Mikhail Gorbachev, the President of the Soviet Union; he noted in particular, "You have enough forces, to take the situation under control. Keep in mind that it is necessary to stop the pogroms in Baku by all means."
V.A. Kruchkov calls. I inform him about the situation, about the meeting of the Central Committee. "What decision did you make? To nothing substantive. We hope that we will be able to convince the top of the NFA at the evening."
In the records of the AzSSR KGB chief made on January 16 is also noted, "Baku - city of anarchy. The total number of corpses - 43, pogroms - 29, hundreds of signals for help. NFA started blocking military units. Near the building of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan crowd were gathered with slogans: "Down with the bloody perestroika!" Large group of demonstrators marched passes the KGB building. Nothing like this has happened before."
V. Husefnov writes that there were rumors in Baku that 80,000 fighters from Armenia had crossed the border of Azerbaijan. "January 17. It is reported that the forces of NFA are left for picketing the highways, military units. Buses, cranes, bulldozers are used, the main areas are barricaded," Huseynov writes.
"The Center is well aware of the situation. Everyone was amazed by the rally held in front of the Central Committee, angered with the blocking of military units, and the gallows in front of Central Committee was a finishing blow to the leadership of the country," Huseynov quotes Vezirov, the head of the Central Committee of Azerbaijan.
Posted 31 March 2014 - 10:02 AM
17:56 31/03/2014 » REGION44 ‘‘civilian victims’’ of Khojalu are found in list of ‘‘martyrs’’ of Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense
The website Xocali.net published the findings of the study of “list of martyrs” circulated by Ministry of Defense (MOD) of Azerbaijan in early 2014. The list contains the names of 11 thousand people, who according to MOD are the Azerbaijanis who fought and died in the course of Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
Besides the fact that what the Ministry has published is not the complete list: the losses are underestimated, the list is full of numerous inaccuracies. The website Xocali.net conducted an audit of one of the episodes http://xocali.net/RU/again-list.html
As it is already known, the falsification with the list of Aghdam events of 1992 has been thoroughly exposed by Armenian side http://xocali.net/RU/spiski.html.
The study of the list has revealed that according to numerous Azerbaijani lists, by the way the lists contradict each other, in addition to falsifications and inaccuracies, the amount of the dead don’t match with the advocated number of 613 as well as age-sex ratio.
In January of 2014 the list of “Azerbaijani military servicemen who became martyrs in the course of military operations between Armenians and Azerbaijanis in Nagorno Karabakh and on the state border in 1991-1994,” was published. It is important to pay attention on two things: 1. the notion of “Karabakh war” is put into circulation 2. The list contains the names of military servicemen who fought and died from 1991 to 1994.
For example, the list contains the names of some people who died after 1994 as well as who died out of combat zone and who died from illness. However, this is a topic of separate research.
So, there are two official lists at the disposal of Armenian side: The list of people who died in Khojalu and the list of servicemen who died in the course of military operations during the war. These two lists were compared and it has been revealed that 44 people identified as “victims of genocide” in Khojalu are also on the list of military servicemen, who were mobilized for military service and took part in military operations, including those who died in completely different place and at different time.
Safarov Shahverdi Bahluloglu died in Karintak Aliyev Bakir Shiraslanoglu - in Martakert , Abbasov Elkhan Kamranoglu - Shushi , Guliyev Farhad Safaroglu - in Shahumyan etc. Khudiyev Zahid Bahlul oglu - was mobilized in 1993 and died in Fizuli and Radjabov Jebrail Mehdioglu - died in Khojalu, but in 1991. Mehdiev Fikret Burzuoglu - 28.01.1992, the reason of death is indicated as follows: “died on Agdam -Shusha railroad" - it is noteworthy that there is no railroad there and what railroad they are speaking about is unclear.
Thus, the Armenian side once more has managed to confirm that both lists that are put into circulation by the Azerbaijani side are full of falsifications and inaccuracies, which carry stung propagandistic character and aim to mislead the public.
Posted 05 August 2014 - 10:24 AM
19:02 04/08/2014 » SOCIETY
Guardian Liberty Voice: Nagorno Karabakh was a part of ancient Kingdom of Armenia
Conflict in Nagorno Karabakh, the disputed territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan, has seen tensions escalate with new fighting this week, reports the article in the American edition of Guardian Liberty Voice. Though the current conflict began in 1988 its roots date back to the beginning of the previous century.
“At the end of World War I, the British established a provisional government, and gave Azerbaijan control over Nagorno Karabakh, causing tensions to escalate in the disputed territory, especially among the ethnic Armenians who are a majority of the regional population. Armenians call the area, Artsakh, as it was the region’s name when it was an important province in the ancient Kingdom of Armenia,” reads the publication.
According to the article, one of the reasons for the conflict was the Soviet practice of creating separate republics by mixing ethnic populations, as this assured control by Moscow. The article also notes that Joseph Stalin initially promised that Armenia would retain control of the territory. However, the Bolsheviks were courting Turkey as an ally at the time, and Turkey had closer ties to Azerbaijan. The Soviet authorities formed the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast which became a part of the Azerbaijan Socialist Soviet Republic (AzSSR) in 1923.
The author notes that as a result of the conflict that started in 1988 the region came under Armenian control.
“Russia negotiated a truce between the factions in 1994, but the area has remained a hot spot, with tensions flaring periodically,” says the publication. Current efforts to broker a resolution are led by the OSCE Minsk Group, which is co-chaired by Russia, France and the United States. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova made a statement on that a further escalation is unacceptable.
“Last Friday Azerbaijani forces began shelling Armenian defensive positions with rocket launchers,” writes the article.
The war between Armenia and Azerbaijan has proved costly to both sides. In recent days, Nagorno Karabakh residents have seen tensions escalate in this disputed territory, yet with no lasting resolution in sight, concludes the author.
Edited by Yervant1, 05 August 2014 - 10:25 AM.
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Posted 15 October 2019 - 09:45 AM
A Declassified Top Secret CIA Report
On the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
A 48-page Central Intelligence Agency Top Secret Report, prepared in
August 1988 and made public in 2012 with some deletions, is titled
“Unrest in the Caucasus and the Challenge of Nationalism.” Despite the
passage of time, the Report includes an interesting analysis of the
Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) conflict from the perspective of U.S.
The CIA analyst, in the introduction of his Report, traced the origins
of the Artsakh conflict: “Enmity between Armenian and Azeri factions
has existed for hundreds of years, and the 1920’s settlement
subordinating Nagorno-Karabagh—Armenia’s cultural and religious
center—to the Azerbaijan Republic has been a continual, albeit
long-muted, source of Armenian frustration and concern. Azeri
animosity toward the Armenians has been intensified by political,
economic, and demographic trends that have adversely affected the
political status of Azeris and increased the gap in living standards
between Azerbaijan and Armenia. In particular, the rapid expansion of
Azerbaijan’s young adult population has put enormous strain on the
Republic’s capacity to provide adequate jobs, housing, and education.
Azeri frustration has found an outlet in attacks on Armenians.”
The unnamed CIA analyst reported that a split within the Politburo on
how to handle the Artsakh crisis made the situation worse. Second
Secretary Ligachev and KGB Chief Chebrikov were the hardliners who
vehemently opposed the separation of Artsakh from Azerbaijan. They
disagreed with Gorbachev’s reforms and blamed foreign powers for
inciting unrest inside the Soviet Union.
When two prominent Armenian writers, Silva Kaputikyan and Zori
Balayan, met with Gorbachev in Moscow in February 1988, they reported
that he was well briefed and assured them that he wanted a “just
solution.” He acknowledged “the peaceful nature of the [Armenian]
demonstrations and emphasized his personal sympathy with the desire to
reunite Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia….”
Upon the return of the Armenian envoys to Yerevan, in a radio
broadcast on February 27, 1988, Kaputikyan called for Armenians to
trust Gorbachev. “He knows about and understands our problem and wants
to resolve it personally…. We must do our utmost to ensure that no
harm” is done to him, Kaputikyan announced.
Regarding Soviet concerns about foreign, particularly
Armenian-American interference in domestic Soviet turmoil, the CIA
analyst reported: “The recent unrest appears to have made Soviet
officials more fearful about the role of foreign actors in the
Nagorno-Karabakh problem. Of the approximately 5.5 million people in
the world today who speak Armenian, about 60 percent live outside the
Soviet Armenian republic, about 1.4 million elsewhere in the USSR, and
2 million abroad. So far, Armenian emigres—most of whom see Turkey
much more than Russia as the historic oppressor of their nation—have
not been actively involved in pushing for change in the Soviet system
or in Soviet policies. Moscow worries that diaspora attitudes could
turn sharply critical of the USSR and that Armenians in the United
States, particularly, could grow into a powerful anti-Soviet pressure
group. Soviet officials are wary of the large concentration of
Armenians in California and New York, states with large electoral
votes that have been closely contested in previous presidential
In a footnote at the end of the previous paragraph, the CIA analyst
specified that “the United States hosts at least 600,000 Armenians.
About 90 percent of America’s Soviet Armenian immigrants came to
California. Los Angeles—with 100,000—has the largest community of
Armenians outside Yerevan. The New York City region has about 70,000
Armenians, mostly from Lebanon and Iran.”
The CIA analyst added: “Moscow may be concerned that foreign Armenian
terrorist groups like the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of
Armenia (ASALA) could turn against Soviet targets—although we have no
evidence that this is the case. Hitherto, the USSR has figured very
little in ASALA’s blending of armed struggle with Marxist ideology;
the dominant faction of ASALA considers Soviet Armenia as liberated
territory and the group concentrates its attacks exclusively on
Turkish officials. In fact, ASALA eventually would like to see ‘the
Armenian provinces’ now located in Turkey and possibly Iraq [?]
reattach themselves to the Soviet Armenian core. Furthermore, ASALA is
now in a quiet phase, and its leader was assassinated on 28 April
. Nevertheless, ASALA in early April did send a moderately
worded appeal to Gorbachev supporting the reunification of Karabakh
with Armenia, while characteristically stressing that Armenia is an
integral part of the USSR and seeks only to rectify the border, not to
pursue claims against Moscow.”
Finally, the CIA analyst explained the position of Turkey on the
Karabakh conflict: “Although the Turkish Government has not explicitly
sided with Azerbaijan, Turkey’s fear of resurgent Armenian nationalism
makes Ankara sympathetic to Baku. When the crisis broke in February
, Turkish Government spokesmen indicated publicly that
international agreements entitle Ankara to a voice in the crisis, an
apparent reference to the 1921 treaty between the USSR and Turkey that
led to the shift of Nagorno-Karabakh and Nakhichevan to Azerbaijan.
Turkey no doubt especially feared that transferring Nagorno-Karabakh
to Armenia would whet Armenian appetites and would lead to increased
pressure to change the status of Nakhichevan and to acquire former
Armenian regions in Turkey. Turkish officials probably also noted that
some Armenian expansionist demands for a ‘Greater Armenia’ were based
on historic claims rather than on the ethnic composition of the
affected territories. Thus, some Armenians have demanded the return of
Nakhichevan, even though Azeris now greatly outnumber Armenians in
this region. Using such historical criteria, could give Armenians a
claim even on some border parts of Turkey where only 50,000 Armenians
The CIA analyst concluded his Report by outlining five options the
USSR had for the resolution of the Artsakh conflict:
1) “Sticking with the Status Quo”
2) “Making Further Economic Concessions” to Armenians
3) “Enhancing Autonomy of Nagorno-Karabakh Within Azerbaijan”
4) Expanding “Extraterritorial Native Cultural Institutions”
5) “Reconfiguration of Nagorno-Karabakh” by splitting it between
Armenia and Azerbaijan.
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Posted 24 March 2020 - 08:28 AM
A ravaged Shushi after the Azerbaijani army destroyed the city on March 23, 1920. The Ghazantchetsots Cathedral is in the background
On March 23, 1920 troops of the newly-founded Republic of Azerbaijan, joined by Azerbaijani inhabitants of Shushi began a systematic massacre of Armenians living in what was then the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh.
For three days, the Armenian population was not spared and the city turned into an inferno as Azerbaijanis burned some 2,000 structures in an effort to level the city and rid it of its Armenian inhabitants.
On Monday, to mark the 100th anniversary of this brutal page in Armenian history, the Artsakh Foreign Ministry issued an announcement saying that the 1920 Sushi Massacre laid the foundation for the current Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict, which saw a modern-day repeat of the 1920 events when Azerbaijani forces and citizens massacred Armenians in Sumgait, Kirovabad, Baku and Shahumyan, among other cities beginning in 1988.
Below is the Artsakh Foreign Ministry announcement.
One hundred years ago, on March 23, 1920, the authorities of the newly created Azerbaijani Democratic Republic massacred the Armenian population of Shushi, the then administrative and cultural center of Artsakh, the Foreign Ministry of the Artsakh Republic said in a statement.
As a result of this heinous crime, thousands of Armenians were killed, tens of thousands were forced to flee their homes and the Armenian part of the city was looted, burned and completely destroyed. The surviving Armenian residents of Shushi, who made up the majority of the city’s population, were completely expelled. Most of the once beautiful Armenian city was in ruins for many years. The enormous cultural heritage of Shushi was destroyed.
Ruins of Shushi after Azerbaijani army destroyed the city on March 23, 1920
The scale and cruelty of this crime struck the contemporaries who visited Shushi immediately after the massacre and noted that the wells were filled with the bodies of women and children. The tragedy left such a deep mark on the city and its atmosphere that even after 10 years it caused gloomy impressions and heavy feelings, which one of the prominent Russian writers of the twentieth century, Osip Mandelstam, reflected in his poem “Phaeton Driver.”
The Shushi massacre became the apotheosis of the two-year-long attempts of the Azerbaijani authorities to seize and subjugate Artsakh. These irrepressible and unreasonable territorial claims on Artsakh by Azerbaijan, which was created as a result of the Turkish invasion in the South Caucasus, laid the foundation for the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict in its modern sense. The Azerbaijani authorities tried to achieve their goal through the direct support by the Turkish troops. Subsequently, the Turkish officers and emissaries continued to assist the Azerbaijani armed forces, including in organizing the Shushi massacre of 1920, attempting to continue the Genocide of Armenians, now in Eastern Armenia.
The forcible inclusion of Artsakh in the structure of Soviet Azerbaijan, following the Sovietization of the Republics of the South Caucasus, did not solve the issue, as the policy of the Azerbaijani authorities toward the Armenian population of Artsakh changed only in form, but not in content.
Shushi became an inferno on March 23, 1920 after Azerbaijani forces burned nearly 2,000 buildings
The beginning of the process of collapse of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and early 1990s once again actualized the issue of physical security of the Armenian population of Artsakh. In response to the peaceful demands of the people of Artsakh for reunification with Armenia, a wave of mass killings and pogroms of Armenians swept throughout Azerbaijan. Thousands of Armenians were killed and maimed, hundreds of thousands were deported. The Armenian pogroms of the 1988-1990s were the continuation of the Shushi massacre of 1920 and clearly demonstrated that even after 70 years neither the goals nor the methods of the Azerbaijani authorities had changed.
Only thanks to the self-organization of the people of Artsakh, which created a capable state with all the necessary institutions, including an efficient army, as well as the support of the Armenians worldwide, it was possible to repel the armed aggression of Azerbaijan in 1991-1994 and to prevent the repeating of the Shushi scenario in Artsakh, but on a larger scale.
Today, the authorities and people of Artsakh are exerting every effort to revive Shushi and to restore, the cultural heritage of the city destroyed by the Azerbaijani authorities.
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