The Nagorno-Karabakh war of 1991-1994 claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people. This ethnic conflict became the first in the post-Soviet space. And the most bloody. The active phase of the Nagorno-Karabakh war ended in 1994, but a peaceful compromise was never found. Even now, the armed forces of both states are in constant combat readiness.
The origins of the Nagorno-Karabakh war
And the prerequisites for this hostility date back to the beginning of the twentieth century, when, after the formation of the Soviet state, the autonomous Nagorno-Karabakh region was incorporated into the Azerbaijani SSR, which in the majority was inhabited by Armenians. Seventy years later, the Armenian population still prevailed here. In 1988, it was about 75% against 23% of Azerbaijanis (2% were Russians and representatives of other nationalities). For quite a long period Armenians of this region regularly complained about discriminatory actions of the Azerbaijani authorities. The issue of the reunification of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia was also actively discussed here. The collapse of the Soviet Union led to the fact that tension could no longer be contained. Mutual hatred escalated more than ever, which led to the beginning of the Nagorno-Karabakh war.
In 1988, the Council of Deputies of the Parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh held a referendum in which the overwhelming majority of the population voted for joining Armenia. Following the voting, the Council of Deputies asked the governments of the USSR, Azerbaijan and Armenia to authorize this process. Of course, this did not cause any enthusiasm from the Azerbaijani side. In both republics clashes on the basis of interethnic strife began to occur more and more often. The first murders and pogroms took place. Before the collapse of the state, the Soviet forces somehow curbed the onset of a large-scale conflict, but in 1991 these forces suddenly ceased to exist.
The course of the Nagorno-Karabakh war
After the failure of the August putsch , the fate of the Soviets was finally understood. And in the Caucasus the situation escalated to the limit. In September 1991, Armenians arbitrarily proclaimed an independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, having formed a fully capable army with the help of the Armenian leadership, as well as foreign diasporas and Russia. This was achieved not least thanks to good relations with Moscow. At the same time, the new government in Baku led the course toward rapprochement with Turkey, which caused tension in relations with its own recent capital. In May 1992, the Armenian formations succeeded in breaking through the Azerbaijani corridor, reinforced by enemy troops, and reach the borders of Armenia. The Azerbaijani army, in turn, was able to occupy the northern territories of Nagorno-Karabakh.
However, in the spring of 1993, the Armenian-Karabakh forces carried out a new operation, as a result of which not only the entire territory of yesterday's autonomy, but also part of Azerbaijan was under their control. The military defeat of the latter led to the fact that in Baku in mid-1993 the nationalistic pro-Turkish president A. Elchibey was overthrown, and G. Aliyev, a prominent figure of the Soviet period, took over his place. The new head of state significantly improved relations with the post-Soviet states, joined the CIS. This also facilitated mutual understanding with the Armenian side. The fighting around the former autonomy continued until May 1994, after which the heroes of the Karabakh war laid down their arms. Soon a truce was signed in Bishkek.
The result of conflict
In the years that followed, there was a continuous dialogue with the mediation of France, Russia and the United States. However, until today it has not been completed. While Armenia stands for the reunification of this enclave of the Armenian people with its main part, Azerbaijan insists on the principle of territorial integrity and inviolability of borders.