Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict (1991 - )

The territory of Nagorno-Karabakh has been a long-standing object of dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. During the existence of USSR, the territory was assigned to Azerbaijan, starting in 1921. After decades of disagreements over the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, and in the wake of Gorbachev’s policies of political openness, the protests by Armenians in the region escalated into violent conflict in 1990, exacerbated by the central government’s inability to control the republics as the USSR itself was on the verge of collapse. The Autonomous Region (Oblast) of Nagorno-Karabakh (NKAO) proclaimed independence from Azerbaijan in 1991, after the Parliament of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic voted to abolish the Oblast. The territory itself is populated by ethnic Armenians, but surrounded by territories with an Azeri majority. The territory proclaimed independence, with the support of Armenia, and incorporating the areas that surround it, but has never gained international recognition and remains a de jure part of Azerbaijan. The violence intensified , leading to an estimated overall death toll of 30 000 After several attempts at mediation, the opposing sides agreed to a ceasefire in May 1994, but the situation has not been resolved to date and the violence had briefly resumed in the spring of 2016. The initial ceasefire in 1994 was the outcome of the so-called “Minsk process”, overseen by OSCE, with the participation of Russia, France, and the US.

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