Apr 031996
 

FACT SHEET: NAGORNO-KARABAGH

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.

Historical Background:

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 Pasha, and finally to the Russian Bolsheviks. With foreign aid, they won out.

Soviet Period:

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.

Current Issues:

  • 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.

Current Situation

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

May 121994
 

Unofficial translation

P. S. Grachev
Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation

A. V. Kozyrev
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

V. N. Kazimirov

Responding to the call for a cease-fire, as set out in the Bishkek Protocol of May 5, 1994, and based on the Protocol of 18 February 1994, the conflicting Parties agreed on the following:

  1. Ensure the full cease-fire and cessation of hostilities from 00 hours 01 minutes of May 12, 1994. Relevant orders to cease-fire will be given and communicated to the commanders of military units responsible for their implementation, not later than May 11, 1994. On May 12 until 23.00, the Parties shall exchange the texts of their cease-fire orders with a view to their possible mutual complementarities and further harmonization of substantive provisions of similar documents.
  2. Request the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation to convene in Moscow no later than May 12 an urgent meeting of defense ministers of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh army commander to agree on the lines of troops pullback and other urgent military-technical issues and prepare the deployment of an advance team of international observers.
  3. This agreement will be used to complete the negotiations in the next 10 days and conclude an Agreement on Cessation of the Armed Conflict no later than May 22 of this year.
  4. This agreement will take effect immediately after the Mediator notifies that he has received from the opposing forces completely identical documents signed by authorized representatives.

Minister of Defense of Azerbaijan

Minister of Defense of Armenia

Nagorno Karabakh Army Commander


Note: The text was signed respectively by M. Mamedov in Baku on May 9, S. Sargsyan in Yerevan on May 10, S. Babayan in Stepanakert on May 11, 1994.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic

Original Documents in Russian: Faxe Documents of the Ceasefire Agreement (See V.Kazimirov “Mir Karabakhu”, Moscow 2009, pp. 396-398)

May 051994
 

Participants of the meeting held in May 4-5 in Bishkek on the initiative of the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic, Federal Congress and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation:

-express determination to assist in all possible ways to the cessation of armed conflict in and around Nagorno Karabakh, which does not only cause irretrievable losses to Azerbaijani and Armenian people, but also significantly affects the interests of other countries in the region and seriously complicates the international situation;

-supporting the April 15, 1994 Statement by the CIS Council of heads of states, express readiness to fully support the efforts by heads and representatives of executive power on cessation of the armed conflict and liquidation of its consequences by reaching an appropriate agreement as soon as possible;

-advocate a naturally active role of the Commonwealth and Inter-Parliamentary Assembly in cessation of the conflict, in realization of thereupon principles, goals and the UN and OSCE certain decisions (first of all the UN Security Council resolutions 822, 853, 874, 884);

-call upon the conflicting sides to come to common senses: cease to fire at the midnight of May 8 to 9, guided by the February 18, 1994 Protocol (including the part on allocating observers), and work intensively to confirm this as soon as possible by signing a reliable, legally binding agreement envisaging a mechanism, ensuring the non-resumption of military and hostile activities, withdrawal of troops from occupied territories and restoration of communication, return of refugees;

-agree to suggest Parliaments of the CIS member-states to discuss the initiative by Chairman of Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly V. Shumeyko and Head of the Assembly’s Peacemaking Group on Nagorno Karabakh M. Sherimkulov on creating a CIS peacemaking force;

-consider appropriate to continue such meetings for peaceful resolution of the armed conflict;

-express gratitude to the people and leadership of Kyrgyzstan for creating excellent working conditions, cordiality and hospitality

On behalf of the delegations:

A. Jalilov (signed by R. Guliyev)

K. Babouryan

B. Ararktsyan

V. Shumeyko

M. Sherimkulov

V. Kazimirov (Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation, Head of the Russian Mediation Mission)

M. Krotov(Head of the Secretariat of the Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of CIS member-states)

Bishkek, 5 May 1994


Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic

Original Document in Russian: Bishkek Protocol

Feb 101994
 

The European Parliament,

— having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Armenia, especially its resolution of 16 September 1993 on Armenia and Azerbaijan (‘),

A. having regard to the continuing conflict between Armenians and Azeris which threatens to involve other countries, which has driven hundreds of thousands of people, both Armenians and Azeris, from their homes, and which has already led to hundreds of deaths and injuries among the civilian population,

B. whereas the Azerbaijani air force has resumed its bombing of civilians, particularly in the town of Stepanakert,

C. whereas the negotiating proposals made by the CSCE have come to nothing and have in particular been rejected by Azerbaijan,

D. whereas there is an urgent need for international humanitarian aid for the populations affected in Armenia and Azerbaijan and a need for the neighbouring countries to permit international humanitarian organizations free access to the region; whereas, in particular, suitable aid should be provided to the Armenian people, who are facing difficult living conditions this winter, owing, in particular, to the energy crisis,

E. whereas Armenia has, since independence, made genuine efforts to construct a constitutional state based on democratic institutions, the free exercise of fundamental freedoms and human rights and has undertaken economic reforms to create the most favourable conditions for the population; whereas these efforts are threatened by the effects of the conflicts,

F. whereas these conflicts are having the same disastrous effects on Azerbaijan and, to a lesser extent, the other countries of the region,

G. recalling the communique of 17 January 1994 by the Presidency of the European Union on this matter,

 

1. Is concerned at the danger of the internationalization of the conflict, and calls on the governments of the countries of the region and other foreign powers to refrain from providing military aid to the belligerents;

2. Calls on all the neighbours of Armenia and Azerbaijan and, in particular, on Turkey, to allow the free passage of goods to both countries;

3. Endorses the declaration of the Presidency which ‘requests the opposing parties to display self-control and not inflict further suffering on a civilian population already sorely tried by the war’, and ‘reaffirms its support for the principle of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and calls for a peaceful solution to the conflict’;

4. Calls on all parties concerned to comply with the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council;

5. Calls on the Union and its Member States to exert pressure on Armenia and Azerbaijan in order to persuade them to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict;

6. Calls on the European Union and its Member States actively to support the political and economic reform process in Armenia via a more effective commitment in favour of the country under the Tacis programme, and calls on the Union to make a similar effort to support economic recovery in the other countries of the region and, in particular, Azerbaijan, which is more particularly affected by the war;

7. Calls, in this connection, for particular attention to be paid to the energy problem;

8. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Governments of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey, the authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Secretary-General of the CSCE.


Source: Resolution B3-0181,0186,0188,0197 and 0204/94 [28.2.94 Official Journal of the European Communities No C 61/171]

File: European Parliament Resolution B3-0181,0186,0188,0197 and 0204/94

Apr 011993
 

Ethnic Cleansing in Progress: War in Nagorno Karabakh

Institute for Religious Minorities in Islamic World (April 1993)
By Caroline COX and John EIBNER

Contents
Preface
Introduction
Basic Facts
A Conflict of Civilizations
The Genocide
The Pincers of Pan-Turkism
Soviet Rule
The Karabakh Question Revived
Operation Ring
The Post-Soviet Conflict
The Characteristics of the People of Nagorno Karabakh
The Prognosis: Continuing Bloodshed
Conclusions
Recommendations


Available online at: Sumgait.info

Jan 211993
 

The European Parliament,

  1. aware of the tragic situation of the 300 000 Armenian refugees who have fled the pogroms in Azerbaijan,
  2. whereas, four years after the earthquake which struck Armenia, living conditions in the disaster areas are perilous,
  3. whereas the CSCE is endeavouring to establish peace by creating the basis for a settlement negotiated between the Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh authorities,
  4. whereas the economic blockade imposed by Azerbaijan and the resulting energy crisis are designed to draw Armenia into a direct armed conflict,
  1. Gives its full backing to the CSCE peace process and calls for an immediate ceasefire between the parties to the conflict;
  2. Takes the view that the relentless blockade carried out by Azerbaijan constitutes a violation of international law and insists that the Azerbaijani Government lift it forthwith;
  3. Calls on the Commission to release appropriations for Armenia in order to support the democratization process (Tacis programme) and meet the population’s most pressing tangible needs (Echo programme);
  4. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, European Political Cooperation, the CSCE Secretary-General and the Governments of Armenia and of Azerbaijan.

Source: Resolution B3-0049/93 [15.2.93 Official Journal of the European Communities No C42/165]

File: European Parliament Resolution B3-0049/93

Feb 131992
 

The European Parliament,

A. whereas the Armenian population living in Nagorno-Karabakh has been subjected to constant blockade and aggression for the last three years,

B. whereas at the end of December 1991 Azerbaijan launched a huge and unprecedented offensive against Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh,

C. whereas Armenian villages in Nagorno-Karabakh were bombarded with heavy artillery on 34 occasions during January 1992, with over 1 100 rockets and mortars fired at them, wounding about 100 civilians, including women and children,

D. whereas the situation of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh with regard to food and health has worsened to the point of becoming untenable,

E. mindful of the fundamental rights of minorities under a democratic state based on the rule of law,

F. mindful of its earlier resolutions recognizing Nagorno-Karabakh’s right to self-determination,

G. whereas the democratically elected authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh have appealed to the EEC, the UN, the CIS and the CSCE for support,

1. Decides in principle to send a European Parliament delegation to Nagorno-Karabakh in order to assess the situation and propose solutions;

2. Calls on the Commission and the Council to make representations to the UN for the Security Council to take the appropriate measures without delay;

3. Urges the Commission to provide on-the-spot medical aid and substantial emergency aid to Nagorno-Karabakh in terms of food and basic supplies;

4. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the President of the UN General Assembly, the President of the UN Commission for Human Rights, the CIS, the CSCE and the Governments of the republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan.


Source: Resolution on aid to Nagorno-Karabakh B3-0155/92 [16.3.92 Official Journal of the European Communities No C 67/145]

File: European Parliament Joint Resolution on aid to Nagorno-Karabakh B3-0155/92

May 171991
 

SRES 128 ATS

102d CONGRESS
1st Session
S. RES. 128

Condemning violence in Armenia.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
May 17 (legislative day, APRIL 25), 1991

Mr. LEVIN (for himself, Mr. DOLE, Mr. PRESSLER, Mr. PELL, Mr. SEYMOUR, Mr. SIMON, Mr. KASTEN, Mr. KENNEDY, Mr. SPECTER, Mr. SARBANES, Mr. WARNER, Mr. DECONCINI, Mr. RIEGLE, Mr. BRADLEY, and Mr. HELMS) submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to


RESOLUTION

Condemning violence in Armenia.

Whereas the Government of the Soviet Union and Government of the Azerbaijan Republic have dramatically escalated their attacks against civilian Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan, and Armenia itself;

Whereas the Government of the Soviet Union has refused Armenia’s request to convene a special session of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Supreme Soviet to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis;

Whereas Soviet and Azerbaijani forces have destroyed Armenian villages and depopulated Armenian areas in and around Nagorno-Karabakh in violation of internationally recognized human rights; and

Whereas armed militia threaten stability and peace in Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Azerbaijan: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that the Senate–

  1. condemns the attacks on innocent children, women, and men in Armenian areas and communities in and around Nagorno-Karabakh and in Armenia;
  2. condemns the indiscriminate use of force, including the shelling of civilian areas, on Armenia’s eastern and southern borders;
  3. calls for the end to the blockades and other uses of force and intimidation directed against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, and calls for the withdrawal of Soviet forces newly deployed for the purpose of intimidation;
  4. calls for dialogue among all parties involved as the only acceptable route to achieving a lasting resolution of the conflict; and
  5. reconfirms the commitment of the United States to the success of democracy and self-determination in the Soviet Union and its various republics, by expressing its deep concern about any Soviet action of retribution, intimidation, or leverage against those Republics and regions which have chosen to seek the fulfillment of their political aspirations.

Source: THOMAS (Library of Congress)

May 161991
 

The European Parliament,

A. deploring the continual aggravation of violence in the Caucasus, particularly against Armenians in the autonomous region of Karabakh, an enclave within Azerbaijan,

B. whereas the most recent interventions by the Soviet army, instead of attempting to prevent further bloodshed, caused many casualties among the civilian population, and whereas this intervention combined with increased pressure from the Azerbaijanis, led to a large proportion of the population leaving Nagorno-Karabakh to take refuge in the Republic of Armenia,

C. respecting the decisions which will be taken independently by the people of the Soviet Union to determine their future, the state of their relations, and the destiny of their union,

D. recalling its earlier resolutions on this subject,

 

1. Condemns unequivocally the violence by the Soviet armed forces and the ‘Azerbaijani forces’ which has once more been inflicted on the Armenian population in Karabakh and Armenia;

2. Formally calls on the Soviet and Azerbaijani authorities to put an immediate stop to these acts of violence;

3. Urges the Soviet authorities to implement measures guaranteeing the following for Karabakh Armenians:

— physical safety,

— freedom of movement to Armenia,

— the raising of the blockade by Azerbaijan,

— the return of people driven away from their homes;

4. Supports all efforts aimed at finding a political settlement to the problems of Nagorno-Karabakh and the various national groups in the region, in compliance with human rights standards;

5. Calls on the central authorities of the Soviet Union to refrain from all acts of intimidation and from obstructing the planned referendum on the future of Armenia itself;

6. Calls on the populations affected by the tension to make a major effort to embrace peaceful coexistence and cooperation between persons belonging to different ethnic, cultural and religious groups;

7. Warns the Soviet Government that, under the conditions of the Paris Charter for a New Europe, the Community and its Member States cannot be indifferent to the brutal suppression of human rights in part of the USSR;

8. Instructs its Enlarged Bureau to consider whether it would be appropriate to send a representative delegation from the EP to the region;

9. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, European Political Cooperation, the Government of the USSR and the Governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan.


Source: Joint resolution replacing B3-0747, 0754, 0767, 0781, 0795, 0816, 0824 and 0827/91 [17.6.91 Official Journal of the European Communities No C 158/243]

File: European Parliament Joint resolution replacing B3-0747, 0754, 0767, 0781, 0795, 0816, 0824 and 0827/91