On September 10, 1991, a group of independent observers arrived in the Nagorno Karabakh Republic for observing the course of the referendum on the status of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic.
The observers worked in the town of Stepanakert, the Askeran, Hadrut, Martakert, Martuni, and Shahumian regions. The observers visited over 30 polling stations and observed the process of votes’ calculation.
The independent observers state that:
The preparation, conduction, and summing-up of the referendum were carried out in accordance with the “Temporary Provision on the Conduction of a Referendum in the Nagorno Karabakh Republic”. 81 polling districts were created in the NKR territory. The districts list and the addresses of the electoral commissions were published in “Soviet Karabakh” newspaper. The voters’ list comprised 132.328 citizens eligible to vote.
The question of the referendum was formulated as follows: “Do you accept that the proclaimed Nagorno Karabakh Republic be an independent state independently determining the forms of cooperation with other states and communities?”
The ballot papers in three languages – Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Russian – comprise the noted question and the words “Yes” and “No” (the undesirable one should be crossed out). The ballot papers in one of the three noted languages (on the voters’ choice) were handed over after signing for the passport submission.
No violations in the procedure of voting, giving out the ballot papers, their registration, and the votes’ calculation were fixed by the observers.
The observers find it necessary to note that the referendum was conducted in the conditions of military aggression against the NKR via continuous firing of the town of Stepanakert and other settlements, with the use of various kinds of weapon, including rockets and artillery. The firing on the voting day resulted in 10 deceased and 11 wounded Armenian citizens. The majority of the women and children spend the nights in basements; the kindergartens, day nurseries, and schools are closed. On the night of December 12, one of the Stepanakert schools was struck by an artillery shell. The town water-pipe is blown up and there is a shortage of bread and medicines.
108.736 citizens, or 82,2% of the total number of the registered voters, participated in the referendum,. The overwhelming majority of those, who didn’t participate in the voting, are citizens of the Azerbaijani settlements.
On opening the ballot boxes, 108.736 ballot papers were found there, 95 of which were considered invalid.
The voting results:
“Yes” – 108.615 voters (99,89% of those who participated in the voting).
“No” – 24 voters (0,02% of those who participated in the voting).
According to the “Temporary Provision on the Conduction of a Referendum in the Nagorno Karabakh Republic”, the resolution introduced at the referendum is considered to be adopted, if over half of the citizens included in the voters’ list participated in the voting and if as a result of the referendum, not less than 2/3 of those who participated in the voting approved the resolution. Proceeding from the results of the referendum and taking into account the provisions of the General Declaration and International Pacts on Human Rights, the independent observers state that:
BY THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF VOTES, THE POPULATION OF THE NKR DECLARED FOR THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE NAGORNO KARABAKH REPUBLIC
- Yuri Afanasyev – USSR and RSFSR People’s Deputy
- Vladimir Smirnov – USSR People’s Deputy
- Boris Nazarov – Chairman of the Human Rights Information Center
- Yevgeny Proshechkin – “Democratic Russia”
- Constantine Voevodsky – CSCE Human Rights International Congress, the St. Petersburg Human Rights Center
- Ella Polyakova – “Memorial”, “Movement of Soldiers’ Mothers”, St. Petersburg
- Inessa Burkova – “Karabakh” Committee of Russian Intelligentsia (KCRI), Moscow
- Galina Sinyavskaya – “Movement Against Violence”, Moscow
- Elena Lunina – Moscow Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers
- Kirill Alexeyevsky – USSR Academy of Sciences Voters’ Club, Moscow
- Galina Kulikova – CSCE Human Rights International Congress, “Ode” Russian Culture Association
- Yuri Samodurov – Sakharov International Congress
- Olga Suprunenko – People’s Deputy of the Moscow Soviet
- Gennady Shalygin – People’s Deputy of the Moscow Soviet
- Vyacheslav Titov – People’s Deputy of the Moscow Soviet
- Alexey Tavrizov – “Memorial”
- Vladimir Fyodorov – Antifascist Center, Moscow
- Nicholay Kalinkin – “Memorial”
- Vladimir Dashkevich – “Karabakh” Committee of Russian Intelligentsia (KCRI)
- Andrei Babushkin – People’s Deputy of the Moscow Soviet
- Victor Gorban – People’s Deputy of the Moscow Soviet
- Vitally Danilov – CSCE Human Rights International Congress, the International Association on Protecting the Rights of the Armenian Population of Karabakh
- Nicholay Kichmar – CSCE Human Rights International Congress, People’s Movement of the Ukraine, Sevastopol
in the presence of the columnists of the USA TV, the France-Press, and the “Cotidien de Pari” (France), the Great Britain Photo Agency, the Spanish Information Agency, the Bulgarian TV, the Russian TV, the “Megapolis-Express” (Megalopolis Express), the «Izvestiya» (News), the «Moskovskiye Novosti» (Moscow News), the «Literaturnaya Gazeta» (Literary Paper), the «Stolitsa» (Capital), the «Panorama», the «Radio Rossii» (Russian Radio), the «Ekho Moskvi» (Moscow Echo).
December 10, 1991