Difference between revisions of "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic"

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The region's area is 4400 km², and as of [[1990]] it had a population of 192,000. The population at that time was mainly Armenian (76%) and [[Azeris|Azeri]] (23%), with [[Russia]]n and [[Kurds|Kurdish]] minorities. The capital is ''[[Stepanakert]]'' in Armenian, ''Xankendi'' or ''Xankəndi'' in Azeri. The other major city is [[Shushi]], parts of which today lie in ruins.
#redirect [[Republic of Mountainous Karabakh]]
==The Name==
'''Nagorno-Karabakh''' (Russian Нагорный Карабах; Azeri-[[Persian language|Persian]] ''Qarabağ''  قره‌باغ (''Bagh'' means Garden in Persian); official Armenian name '''Lernayin Gharabagh''' [Լեռնային Ղարաբաղ], though many [[Armenians]] call it '''Artsakh''' [Արցախ]; in English the name means "Mountainous Black Garden") is a disputed area in the [[Caucasus]]. It is claimed by [[Azerbaijan]] but is controlled by its ethnic [[Armenian (people)|Armenian]] inhabitants as a de facto independent republic ('''Nagorno-Karabakh Republic''' - NKR). The NKR's sovereign status is not recognized.
Nagorno-Karabakh comprises one of the historical parts of Alwania, or Caucasian Albania.  In 95 BC it was conquered by [[Tigranes II]], ruler of the Kingdom of Armenia that called the region Artzakh, and was ruled by local lords.  In the early 4th century AD Alwanians managed to regain Artsakh, and eventually in 387 AD it became a part of Alwania again. In the 5th century many Alwanians adopted Christianity from the [[Armenian Church]] and established close cultural ties.
In the 7th and 8th century the region was invaded by [[Arabs]], who pillaged it and converted a small portion of the population to [[Islam]]. Since the 8th century Alwania diminished in size and came to exist only as a principality of [[Khachen]] in Artsakh. In the 11th century [[Turks]] destroyed the kingdom of Armenia, but the mountainous regions remained relatively unharmed.
In the early 17th century, control of the district passed to [[Persia]], which allowed local autonomy; and in the mid-18th century the Karabakh khanate was formed.  Karabakh passed to the Imperial Russia by the [[Treaty of Gulistan]] in 1813, before the rest of Russia-controlled Armenian territories, which were incorporated into the Empire in 1828.  In 1822 the Karabakh khanate was dissolved and the area became part of a Russian province which later formed Azerbaijan.
After the Russian Revolution in 1917 Karabakh became part of the [[Transcaucasian Federation]], which soon dissolved into separate [[Armenia|Armenian]], [[Azerbaijan|Azeri]] and [[Georgia (country)|Georgian]] states. Azerbaijan claimed sovereignty over the province and sought to conquer it with help from the [[Young Turks]]. Despite the fact that Turkey was defeated in the course of [[World War I]], Karabakh was subdued by Azerbaijan, with approval from the Allies interested in the oilfields nearby Azerbaijan's capital, [[Baku]].
In 1920 Transcaucasia was taken over by the [[bolsheviks]] who made promises they would return Karabakh to Armenia. Needing to appease [[Turkey]], however, Moscow never kept this promise. The young Turkish respublic was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with Soviet Russia and Moscow hoped Turkey would, with a little help of Russia, develop more along [[Communist]] lines. As a result, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region was established as a state within the [[Azerbaijan SSR]] in 1923 on most of the territory and the rest was directly incorporated into Azerbaijan.
With the fall of the [[Soviet Union|USSR]] in the early 1990s, the question of Nagorno-Karabakh reemerged. Nagorno-Karabakh had never been a part of an independent Azerbaijan and was only ceded to the Azerbaijani SSR by Stalin in the 1920s. Complaining about forced Azerification of the region, the majority Armenian population started a movement to transfer it to [[Armenia]]. In November 1991, seeking to squelch this movement, the Parliament of Azerbaijan abolished the autonomous status of the region. In response the Nagarno-Karabakh government held a December 10, 1991 referendum in which the overwhelming majority of the population voted for outright independence.
These events led to violent reprisals against Armenians living in [[Sumgait]], [[Baku]] and elsewhere in Azerbaijan, and then to a land war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Armenian forces eventually drove the Azeris out of much of the region and seized a strip of land (called the [[Lachin corridor]]) linking Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as the so-called security zone--strips of territory along the Nagorno-Karabakh borders but inside Azerbaijan which had been used by Azerbaijan artillery during the war. An unofficial cease-fire was reached on May 12th, 1994 through Russian negotiation, and continues today.
Today Nagorno-Karabakh is a de-facto independent state calling itself the ''Nagorno-Karabakh Republic'', with its own democratically elected government and a market economy. It is closely tied to the Republic of Armenia and uses its currency, the [[dram]]. Successive Armenian governments have resisted internal pressure to unite the two, fearing reprisals from Azerbaijan and the international community, which still considers Nagorno-Karabakh part of Azerbaijan. The politics of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh are so intermingled that a former president of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, [[Robert Kocharian]], has become first prime minister (1997) and then the president of Armenia (1998 to the present).
Meanwhile, negotiation continues. In the latest episode, representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh, France, Russia and the United States met in Paris and Florida in the spring of 2001. The mediating countries proposed a plan to formally incorporate Nagorno-Karabakh into Armenia, in exchange for a transport corridor between Azerbaijan and [[Nakhichevan]]. Armenia claims that this agreement was nearly reached, but that former Azeri president [[Heydar Aliyev]] reversed his position. Azerbaijan holds that such an understanding was never reached.
==Administrative Divisions==
* [[Askeran Region]]
* [[Hadrut Region]]
* [[Mardakert Region]]
* [[Martuni Region]]
* [[Shushi Region]]
In addition there is the [[Shahumian Region]] in the north that was detached from Karabakh during Soviet times.
The current borders of Karabakh, established in Soviet times, resemble a kidney bean.  The bean, whose indentation is on the right side, has very tall mountain ridges along the northern edge, along the west, and the south is just plain mountainous.  This makes options for getting to Karabakh from Armenia limited, with a windy mountainous road through Lachin being the primary route, and a dirt road through northern Kelbajar the only real alternative without driving all the way around Karabakh.  The part near the indentation of the kidney bean itself is a relatively flat valley, with the two edges of the bean (Mardtakert and Martuni) having flat lands as well.  Other flatter valleys exist around the Sarsang reservoir, Hadrut, and the south.  Much of Karabakh is forested, especially the mountains.
The Republic of Mountainous Karabakh will hold its first census on October 18-27 2005.
The first ever census in Karabakh was carried out in 1926. According to its results, there were 125,300 people living in the autonomous region; 111,700 Armenians and 12,600 Azeris. Censuses have also been organized in 1939, 1959, 1970, and 1989 which was the last one.
Today, according to statistics, there are 144.6 thousand people living in Karabakh. The Karabakh Government has allotted 120 million AMD to the organization of the census according to karabakh-online.com
==Timeline of Conflict and Peace Talks==
Agency WPS 
November 3, 2004, Wednesday
SOURCE: Vremya Novostei, November 1, 2004, p. 5
by Vladimir Kazimirov
Acting on Azerbaijan's initiative, the UN General Assembly will discuss
the situation in the Azerbaijani districts beyond Nagorno-Karabakh
occupied by Armenian and Karabakh troops. Official Baku claims that the
occupiers have been into mischief and atrocities there.
Full occupation of 5 districts of Azerbaijan and partial of 2 more
became a result of vicious fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh and around it
between 1992 and 1994.
Azerbaijani diplomacy is now trying to switch the attention from the
cause (status of Nagorno-Karabakh, the problem it is loath to try and
tackle) to an effect (occupied territories). Hence the traditional
figure juggling - over 1,000,000 resettlers (are the bona fide 700,000
to 750,000 too few?) and 20% of the territory of Azerbaijan occupied
(instead of 9%; in fact, even if Nagorno-Karabakh is counted - and it
cannot be regarded as "occupied" - the figure does not amount to 14%).
The problem of the occupied territories has never been solved. Both
sides are uncompromising. No progress at all has been made in a decade
of cease-fire. These days, Baku presents the occupation only as an
outcome of Armenian aggression even though there is more to it than
Azerbaijan admits.
Suspension of hostilities and a transition to peaceful discussion of
moot points would have prevented expansion of the aggression. Not a
single square kilometer of land has occupied been occupied since the
cease-fire accord arranged with Russia's help in May 1994. I remember
how the conflict raged between 1992 and 1994 and how go-betweens were
doing their best to put out the fire. Russia pestered the warring sides
- directly and via the OSCE Minsk Group - with the proposal of
negotiations. Baku and Yerevan were given a lot of chances to put an
end to the hostilities. It was usually Baku that dismissed the chance
and even went against the already made accords.
A lot of hopes were pinned on the OSCE Minsk Conference. Were it not
for the official Baku's demand of withdrawal of the Armenians from the
overrun Shusha and Lachin, the conference would have taken place in
June 1992.
Instead of the conference, the OSCE Minsk Group was formed. The one
Baku regularly criticizes nowadays. On Russia's initiative, the OSCE
Minsk Group urged the warring sides to suspend hostilities for 30 days
in July 1992 and for 60 days two months later. All to no avail. Yerevan
and Stepanakert gave their consent, but it took time to get Baku's
cooperation. The Armenians overrun the Kelbadzhar district in April
1993. Resolution 822 of the UN Security Council demanded an immediate
suspension of hostilities and withdrawal of all occupiers. Needless to
say, Baku supported Armenian pullout from the occupied districts - but
not at the cost of suspension of hostilities.
With Russia's help, accords to restrict the hostilities were reached in
June 1993. Moscow suggested an extension of the accord by a month on
July 3. Stepanakert did not object, but acting defense minister of
Azerbaijan Safar Abiyev never bothered to respond to the suggestion.
Battle was joined again, and Agdam fell on July 23. A 5-day cease-fire
was agreed upon with Russia's help on August 18. When the accord was
broken, Azerbaijanis lost Fizuli and Dzhebrail. The then President of
Azerbaijan Heidar Aliyev admitted that his regular army had regularly
broken the cease-fire accords.
The truce (for 10 days this time) was only resumed on August 31, when
the Armenian troops overrun Kubatly. The Kremlin succeeded in extending
the truce. It lasted 50 days but the Azerbaijanis wrecked it again and
gave the Armenians an excuse to seize all of south-western Azerbaijan.
Russia's attempts to stop the bloodshed in late 1993 failed. I was
present when Aliyev and Karabakh leader Robert Kocharjan agreed on a
cease-fire as of December 17. Both leaders promised to have the accord
officially enacted, but the documents came from Stepanakert alone -
Baku clearly stalled for time. I managed to persuade Kocharjan to order
an unilateral cease-fire - on the basis of a "gentlemen's accord"
(after all, everything had been agreed on the level of the president of
Azerbaijan!) - without waiting for the text from Baku. The text from
the capital of Azerbaijan came three days later - absolutely
unacceptable. Everything had to be cancelled. As it turned out later,
Baku used the breathing space to prepare an offensive on a large scale.
On December 30, Stepanakert accepted our suggestion of a truce for the
New Year festivities but Baku did not even respond to it.
Only in May 1994, after murderous losses and facing the threat of a
frontal collapse in the environs of Bardy and Yelakh, the leadership of
Azerbaijan suggested a cease-fire. It ended in the truce that has
already lasted for more than a decade.
This is not a complete list, in fact. Even this abridged version shows,
however, that Baku always relied on sheer strength of arms,
overestimating its capacities and using what breathing space occurred
only to regroup. Neglect of cease-fire accords and peace initiatives on
its part merely extended the war and enabled the Armenians to expand
the occupied territory. It means that at least a part of the blame for
the escalation of hostilities and, therefore, on the expansion of the
occupied territories rests on the authorities of Azerbaijan. The
Armenians are not lily-white either, they should have withdrawn, but it
is not they who are particularly prone to negativism in the attitude
towards peace initiatives.
Unfortunately, Armenian and Azerbaijani young diplomatic services are
way too inexperienced yet, unable to avoid half-truths. It has been
long since Baku began campaigning for an "unconditional" release of the
territories allegedly in accordance with four resolutions of the UN
Security Council dated 1993. In fact, however, the term "unconditional"
is only used in Resolution 853. Resolutions 822, 874, and 884 do not
use the term at all.
And this is why Resolution 884 did not use the term "unconditional".
The text of the document makes it plain who broke the cease-fire demand
(the major demand in the hostilities and the major demand in all four
resolutions) through the war. It was a must for the release of the
territories in the first place. So, it was transformed from a must into
a matter for bargaining. Neither is Baku worried by its failure to meet
other demands of resolutions of the UN Security Council.
These selective approach cannot be missed. Only whoever does not know
the first thing about the conflict will take Baku's propagandistic
tricks for real concerns. In fact, settlement of the conflict demands
efforts on both warring sides.
Vladimir Kazimirov, an ambassador, between 1992 and 1996 - head of the
Russian mediator mission, Russian presidential plenipotentiary
representative for Nagorno-Karabakh, participant and co-chairman of the
OSCE Minsk Group.
==See also==
*[[Longevity in Karabakh]]
==External Links & References==
*[http://artsakhworld.com artsakhworld]
*[http://www.nkr.am/eng/ The official site of the NKR Ministry of Foreign Affairs]
*[http://www.nkrusa.org/ Office of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic in the United States]
*[http://www.cilicia.com/armo19.html Resources Related to Karabakh]
*[[Rediscovering_Armenia_Guidebook-_Karabakh | Karabakh Travel Guide]]
*Base text from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagorno-Karabakh Wikipedia Article]

Latest revision as of 07:49, 15 November 2012