The territory of the Artsakh Republic is more than 12 thousand km2 out of which 1041 km2are under the occupation of Azerbaijan.
/The territory of the Shahoumyan region /together with the Getashen
sub-region/ is 2527 km2, 698 km2of which are under the occupation of
Border countries: Armenia (from the West), Azerbaijan (from the North and East), Iran (from the South).
Climate: mostly mild and temperate, in some parts subtropical.
Average atmospheric temperature: +10.9° C
The highest atmospheric temperature: +37°C
The lowest atmospheric temperature: -20°C
Average volume of annual atmospheric precipitations: 587 mm
The average height above the sea level: 1100 m
The highest mountain peaks: Gomshasar - 3724m, Gzhasar-3616m, Tskhut- 3518m, Mrav-3343m, Mets Kirs-2725m
The largest rivers: Araks, Vorotan, Akera, Tartar, Khachen.
Nagorno-Karabakh in the soviet period (1920-1990)
Current stage of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Position of Armenia on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Artsakh (Karabakh) is an integral part of historic Armenia. During the
Urartian era (9-6th cc. B.C.) Artsakh was known as Urtekhe-Urtekhini. As
a part of Armenia Artsakh is mentioned in the works of Strabo, Pliny
the Elder, Claudius Ptolemy, Plutarch, Dio Cassius, and other ancient
authors. The evident testimony of it is the remained rich
After the division of Greater Armenia (387 A.D.), Artsakh became part
of the Eastern Armenian kingdom, which soon fell under the Persian rule.
At that time, Artsakh was a part of the Armenian marzpanutyun
(province), then, in the period of Arabic rule, it was part of Armenia
kusakalutyun (region). Artsakh was part of the Armenian kingdom of
Bagratids (9-11th cc.), then – part of Zakarid Armenia (12-13th cc.).
In following centuries, Artsakh fell under the rule of various
conquerors, remaining Armenian and having a semi-independent status.
Since the mid-18th century the invasion of Turkic nomadic tribes to the
north of Karabakh began, which led to clashes with local Armenians.
During this period, the five Armenian melikdoms (Hams) are memorable
which had reached the peak of their prosperity and power in the late
18th century. At the end of the Russian-Persian War of 1804-1813 and by
the Gulistan treaty of 1813, Artsakh-Karabakh was annexed to Russia.
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict began in 1917, during the formation of three
ethnic republics of Transcaucasia - Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, as a
result of the collapse of the Russian Empire. The population of
Nagorno-Karabakh, 95 percent of which were Armenians, convened its first
congress, which proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh an independent political
unit, elected the National Council and the Government. In 1918-1920
Nagorno-Karabakh had all the trappings of statehood, including the army
and the legitimate authority.
In response to the peace initiatives of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh,
Azerbaijani Democratic Republic launched a military action. From May
1918 to April 1920, Azerbaijan and military units of Turkey, which
supported Azerbaijan, used violence and carried out massacres against
the Armenian population (in March 1920 about 40,000 Armenians were
killed and deported only in Shushi). But it was not possible to make the
people of Nagorno-Karabakh obey Azerbaijan's power in this way.
In August, 1919, in order to prevent military conflict, Karabakh and
Azerbaijan, signed a preliminary agreement by which they agreed to
discuss the problem of the status of the region at Paris Peace
Response of the international community is memorable. The League of
Nations rejected the request for Azerbaijan's membership, citing the
fact that it is difficult to define clear boundaries and territories
under the sovereignty of this state. Among other contentious issues
there was the issue of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. Because of the
sovietization of the region the issue fell out of the agenda of
Nagorno-Karabakh in the soviet period (1920-1990)
The establishment of Soviet rule in Transcaucasia was accompanied by
the creation of a new political system. Nagorno-Karabakh has been
recognized a disputed territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan also by
Soviet Russia. According to the agreement signed in August 1920 between
Soviet Russia and the Armenian Republic, Russian troops were temporarily
deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Immediately after the establishment of the Soviet regime in Armenia, on
November 30, 1920, the Azerbaijan Revcom (Revolutionary Committee - the
main Bolshevik instrument of power at that time) made a declaration
recognizing territories over which Azerbaijan had claims - Nagorno
Karabakh, Zangezour, and Nakhijevan, as inseparable parts of Armenia.
The National Council of Azerbaijan SSR, on the basis of the agreement
between the Azerbaijan Revcom and the governments of Azerbaijan SSR and
Armenian SSR, the Declaration of June 12, 1921, proclaimed
Nagorno-Karabakh an integral part of the Armenian SSR.
Based on the statement of Soviet Azerbaijan waiver of Nagorno-Karabakh,
Zangezour and Nakhichevan and the agreement between the governments of
Armenia and Azerbaijan from June of 1921, Armenia also declared
Nagorno-Karabakh her integral part.
The text of the decree issued by the Armenian government was published
in both Armenian and Azerbaijani media ("Baku Worker" organ of the
Central Committee of the Azerbaijan Communist Party, June 22, 1921).
Thus, a legal confirmation of the unification of Nagorno Karabakh to
Armenia took place.
Within the context of international law and norms (in the international
legal sense), it was the last legal act on Nagorno-Karabakh during the
Ignoring the reality, on July 4, 1921, in the capital of Georgia,
Tbilisi, the Caucasian Bureau of the Communist Party of Russia convened a
plenary session, during which the fact that Nagorno-Karabakh is part of
the Armenian SSR was reconfirmed. However, under the dictation of
Moscow and Stalin's direct interference, on the night of July 5 the
decision of the previous day was reviewed and the forced decision of
incorporating Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan and forming on its
territory an autonomous oblast was made, not even keeping procedure.
This decision is an unprecedented legal act in the history of
international law, when the party organ of a third country (RK(b)P)
without any legal basis or authority determines the status of
In December, 1922 Azerbaijani and Armenian SSR were included in the
formation processes of the USSR, and only on one part of the territory
of Karabakh on July 7, 1923, by decision of the Central Executive
Revolutionary Committee of Azerbaijan SSR the Nagorno-Karabakh
Autonomous Oblast was formed, within Azerbaijan SSR, by which, in fact,
the Karabakh conflict was not resolved, but temporarily frozen.
Moreover, everything was done so that Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast
had no common border with Armenia.
But during the entire Soviet period, the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh
never put up with this decision, and for decades struggled for
reunification with the motherland.
During the entire period of being of Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast
within Azerbaijan SSR, the leadership of this republic had been
regularly and consistently violating the rights and interests of the
Armenian population. Discriminatory policies by Azerbaijan against
Nagorno-Karabakh was reflected in attempts of artificially suspending
the social-economic development of the region, turning it into a raw
materials appendage, actively intervening in the demographic process
aimed at ethnic cleansing, destructing and misappropriating Armenian
monuments and cultural values.
Discrimination from Azerbaijan towards Nagorno-Karabakh had its impact
on the population of Karabakh and became the main reason of latter’s
migration. As a result, the correlation of the Karabakh population
changed: if in 1923 Armenians amounted to 94,4 percent of the population
of Nagorno Karabakh, according to 1989 statistics the number of
Armenians had reduced to 76,9 percent. The policy of ethnic cleansings
had more success on another Armenian territory, in Nakhichevan.
The people of NKAO and authorities of Armenian SSR had sent lots of
applications to the Soviet central authorities asking about the
reconsideration of the decision on incorporating Nagorno-Karabakh to
Azerbaijan, which were ignored or rejected, causing persecutions against
the initiators. Among these applications are the application of the
Government and the Communist Party Central Committee of Armenian SSR
from 1945 to the Government of the USSR and the All-Union Communist
Party Central Committee, more than 2.5 thousand in 1963 and more than 45
thousand signed letters in 1965 from the NKAO population addressed to
Soviet leadership, offers of NKAO working groups within the USSR-wide
discussions on a new constitution in 1977.
Current stage of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
The current phase of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict began in 1988, when in
response to the self-determination claims of NK population the Azeri
authorities organized massacres and ethnic cleansing of the Armenian
population on the entire territory of Azerbaijan, particularly in
Sumgait, Baku and Kirovabad.
On December 10, 1991 NK population declared the establishment of the
Nagorno Karabakh Republic (NKR) by plebiscite, which fully complies with
both international law norms and the letter and spirit of the USSR laws
of that time. Thus, on the territory of the former Azerbaijani SSR two
equal state formations were created - Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and the
Republic of Azerbaijan.
In Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas populated by Armenians the
policy pursued by Azerbaijani authorities turned into overt aggression
and large scale military actions against the Republic of
Nagorno-Karabakh, which resulted in tens of thousands killed and caused
considerable material damage.
Azerbaijan never heeded the international community appeals,
particularly the United Nations Security Council resolutions relating to
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict calling to stop military actions and conduct
Because of the war Azerbaijan occupied the whole region of Shahumyan,
and the eastern parts of Martakert and Martuni regions of
Nagorno-Karabakh. Neighboring districts went under the control of
Nagorno-Karabakh armed forces, which played a role of a security buffer
to block the further firing from the Azeri side towards Nagorno-Karabakh
In May, 1994 Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia signed a ceasefire, which, despite violations, is still effective.
Conflict settlement negotiations are held in the framework of the OSCE
Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship (Russia, USA, France). In the last decade,
several options for the settlement proposed by the Co-Chairs were
rejected by Azerbaijan. The last was "Paris Principles" in 2001 which
were summed up in the Key West document.
Currently, negotiations are held on the basis of the Madrid proposals presented by Co-Chairs in November, 2007.
Despite the negotiations held within the framework of the OSCE Minsk
Group Co-Chairmanship which is the only internationally mandated format
on conflict settlement, and the agreement to carry out negotiations
within the Minsk process, Azerbaijan, distorting the nature and main
reasons of the consequences of the conflict, takes attempts to involve
other international organizations in the settlement and initiates
parallel processes hindering the negotiation process and having campaign
objectives especially in the UN GA and the Council of Europe, too.
Azerbaijan’s aggressive bellicose campaign also puts under question
Azerbaijan's desire, statements, assumed obligations and their
seriousness aimed at compromise settlement. Azerbaijan continues sending
money from oil revenues to increase the military budget and to the
acquisition of large number of offensive armaments, grossly violating a
number of agreements and obligations in the sphere of security and
political-military sphere. In fact, Azerbaijan fails all the economic,
political, military and humanitarian initiatives aimed at strengthening
trust between the parties. Particularly, Azerbaijan rejects the offer of
the Armenian side on regional cooperation and the offer by the
Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group to pull out snipers from the contact line.
Position of Armenia on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Armenia believes that the improvement of the peace process efficiency
is impossible without full participation of the conflict party
Nagorno-Karabakh in the negotiations. Armenia believes that the conflict
settlement should be based on the following principles:
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement must be based on recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh people's right to self-determination;
Nagorno-Karabakh should have uninterrupted land communication with Armenia, under jurisdiction of the Armenian side;
the security of Nagorno-Karabakh should be internationally guaranteed.
Adoption of these principles and contractual stipulation will enable achieving a comprehensive settlement of the problem.
Armenia attaches importance to the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group
Co-Chairs in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process, as a
viable format for the settlement which has enough potential to find ways
Armenia seeks a settlement exclusively through peaceful means.
Azerbaijan's attempts to get unilateral concessions by the threat of
use of force are not only doomed to failure from the beginning, but also
continue to be the main obstacle for the settlement through compromise.
Nagorno-Karabakh has no future as a part of Azerbaijan and whatever is
the solution, it must emanate from the will of the Karabakh people. That
is the essence of the right of peoples to self-determination.
Azerbaijan has neither legal nor political or moral grounds to claim
Map of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
Flag of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
The National Flag of the Nagorno
Karabakh Republic was adopted on June 2, 1992, by the Supreme Council of
the Republic. The National Flag of the NKR is a rectangular tricolor
with three equal horizontal stripes of red, blue and orange (from the
top to the bottom). A white five-toothed stepped rug pattern starts from
both edges of the right side of the tricolor and joins at the one third
of the flag. The correlation between the width and length of the flag
The Coat of Arms of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic
The Coat of Arms of the Nagorno
Karabakh Republic was adopted by the Supreme Council of the Republic on
November 17, 1992. The author of the National Emblem is Lavrent
Ghalayan. The Coat of Arms depicts an eagle with its wings outstretched.
The eagle is crowned with the crown of the Artashesid Dynasty with
sunrays emerging over its head. In the center the image of "We Are Our
Mountains" monument is positioned against the background of the National
Flag and Mount Big Kirs. Beneath, in the claws of the eagle are cluster
of grapes, mulberries and ears of wheat. On the topmost section of the
National Emblem there is an inscription in Armenian "the Nagorno
Karabakh Republic - Artsakh".
Map of Stepanakert