INTRODUCING NAGORNO-KARABAKH (REPUBLIC OF ARTSAKH)
Nagorno-Karabakh, officially the Republic of Artsakh, is a small, de facto independent country located in the heart of the South Caucasus region. Stepanakert is the capital of Republic of Artsakh, with its population about 140,000 people. The state official languages are Armenian and Russian, with ethnic composition of 99% of Armenians.
The land of Artsakh, the central and largest part of which is better known throughout the 20th century by the Russian name “Nagorno-Karabakh” or “Mountainous Karabakh,” (but ethnic Armenians call it Artsakh) – is one of three ancient provinces of Armenia, located in the eastern end of the Armenian Plateau.
Beyond the mystical beauty of the place, Artsakh is one of the cradles of Armenian statehood and contains a large number of the key landmarks of Armenian history. The region is an open sky treasure house of Christian art and architecture, hosting hundreds of medieval churches, monasteries and khachkars (cross-stones).
After the establishment of the Soviet regime in Armenia, on November 30, 1920, the Nagorno- Karabakh was also proclaimed as a part of the Soviet Armenia. But the Soviets’ new Commissar of Nationalities, Joseph Stalin, reversed the decision. In 1923 Nagorno-Karabakh became an autonomous administrative region of the Soviet Azerbaijan, even though 94 percent of its population at the time was ethnic Armenian.
During the entire Soviet period, the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh never put up with that decision, and for the decades struggled for reunification with the Motherland. After the collapse of USSR, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic has declared independence in 1991, and then defended that independence in a war with Azerbaijan, that lasted until 1994. Due to this conflict, the state borders of Armenia with Turkey and Azerbaijan are closed.
On September 27, 2020 the Azerbaijan started a large-scale military operation against the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. The involvement of Turkey in the conflict on the side of Azerbaijan with engagement of Syrian Islamic mercenaries on the filed seriously reescalated the conflict. As a result of that 44 days war, the large part of Nagorno Karabakh Republic has been occupied by Azerbaijan forces, such as Hadrut Province, city of Shushi and other areas.
On November 9, 2020 the ceasefire has been signed between Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan, due to which the Russian peacekeeping contingent is being deployed along the line of conflict in Arstakh, and along the Lachin corridor (the narrow strip of land which connects Armenia and Artsakh).
Currently, it is only possible to enter the territory of Artsakh from the Armenian side via Lachin, passing through the Russian peacekeepers block post.