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Arkady was born in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabagh on June 22, 1957. He graduated from Yerevan State University with a linguistics degree in 1979. He started his working as a correspondent for "Soviet Karabagh" newspaper, becoming its Deputy Editor-in-Chief in 1981.
Ghoukasyan was elected to the first Parliament of the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic in 1991. In September 1992, he was appointed Political Adviser to the Chairman of the State Defense Committee (SDC), he headed the NKR delegations during OSCE negotiations with Azerbaijan.
Ghoukasyan has been a member of Nagorno-Karabagh's Security Council since 1993. On July 23, 1993 he became the first Foreign Minister of the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic.
The presidential model of governance was adopted in the Karabakh (NKR) in November 1994. Robert Kocharian was elected the NKR’s President by the Parliament. As a result of nationwide elections in November 1996, Robert Kocharian became the first directly elected President of the Republic. When Robert Kocharian accepted the proposal of the Republic of Armenia’s President to take the post of Armenia’s Prime Minister, Arkady Ghoukassian won the off-year presidential elections held in the NKR on September 1, 1997.