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Nagorno-Karabakh facts for kids

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Flag of Nagorno-Karabakh
The flag of Nagorno-Karabakh

Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) is an autonomous region of Azerbaijan. Armenia wants it to be part of itself. Most of the people in Nagorno-Karabakh are Armenians. The names for the region in the different local languages all translate to "mountainous Karabakh", or "mountainous black garden". The word "nagorno" is Russian for "mountainous/on the mountain", "kara" is Turkish for "black", and "bakh" means "garden" in Persian.


Nagorno-Karabakh became a subject of the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1918 when both countries declared independence from Russia. Territorial dispute has not been resolved until 1920, when both young states became part of the Soviet Union, and actually lost their independence due to the actions of Russian communists (Bolsheviks). During this time many Azeris were killed by Armenian terrorists.

Supporters for the Armenian position frequently emphasize, that resolution of the Caucasian Bureau from July, 5, 1921, was obviously accepted under the Bolsheviks pressure, and, in any case, this resolution contradicts with the principle of self-determination and cannot be considered as valid: the problem should be solved by the countries, which it directly involves, and not by the Committee created specially for this case and inside the ruling party of the third country.

When Mikhail Gorbachev has come to power in Moscow and has started the campaigns of publicity and democratic reforms in the end of 80th, Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh decided to address the problems to the international and Soviet heads. Complaining about "forced Azerification" of the region, the majority Armenian population started a movement for independence.

In November 1991, seeking to stop this movement, the Parliament of Azerbaijan abolished the autonomous status of the region. In response the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians held a December 10, 1991 referendum in which the overwhelming majority of the population voted for outright independence. The Azeri community of Nagorno-Karabakh boycotted this referendum.

These events and especially violent deportation of approx. 200 000 Azeris from Armenia led to riots against Armenians living in Azerbaijan.

The war for Nagorno Karabakh became the longest and one of the bloodiest conflicts in states-successors of Soviet Union. According to last estimations, it has killed 15.000 people, and the number of refugees has exceeded one million.

Today Nagorno-Karabakh is a de-facto state calling itself the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

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