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The Case for Affirming the Independence of the Armenian Republic of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabagh
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In recent years, many territories’ declarations of independence have been justifiably affirmed through international agreements. The Republic of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabagh’s declaration of independence from Azerbaijan three decades ago is as legitimate as any of those. Artsakh is the republic’s ancient Armenian name.

Artsakh and Christian Armenia have been under attack by Azerbaijan, Turkey, jihadist terrorists, and ISIS since September 27. Turkey is using its army, American-built F-16 jets, drones, and other weapons against Armenians. Azerbaijan’s arsenal comes mostly from Israel, including illegal cluster bombs being targeted against civilians. Israel is currently resupplying Azerbaijan.

Artsakh, like Armenia, is thousands of years old. In contrast, no country named Azerbaijan existed before 1918. It was cobbled together out of a diverse population of what were called Muslims or Tartars, as well as Armenians, Persians, Russians, and others. No such identity as ‘Azeri’ had ever existed.

We’ll show that Artsakh justifiably and legitimately voted for self-determination as it separated from Azerbaijan, its previous temporary but brutish overlord.

The Stalinist Giveaway

Turkey and Azerbaijan speak Turkic dialects. Therefore, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin fantasized (incorrectly, as it turned out) that Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) and his incipient Turkish Republic could be lured into the USSR’s web. So in the early 1920s, Stalin transferred Artsakh — then 96% Armenian — and the Armenian territory of Nakhichevan to Azerbaijan. Stalin’s blunder is the root cause of the present impasse over Artsakh.

Shortly before the transfer, Azerbaijan massacred Armenians in Artsakh, Baku (Azerbaijan), and elsewhere. These crimes were part of the Armenian Genocide that Turkey was already committing from 1915 on.

Stalin also transferred Armenian land to Azerbaijan such that Artsakh became geographically cut off from Armenia. Many majority Armenian areas were also excluded from Artsakh. The latter became a nominally “autonomous” region within Soviet Azerbaijan but, in reality, under the latter’s heavy jackboot.

Artsakh voted for self-determination in accordance with Soviet law in 1988 and international law in 1991. Self-determination and territorial integrity have equal standing under international law. In response, Azerbaijan massacred Armenians in its own cities of Baku, Kirovabad/Ganja, and Sumgait. A war ensued which the outnumbered and outgunned Armenians won in 1994.

Artsakh’s long nightmare through seven decades of Azerbaijani rule was due not to Communism but rather to raw Azeri ethno-racial fanaticism.

Artsakh’s Long Nightmare

Under Azeri rule, Artsakh’s Armenians dropped from 95% to 76% of the population — the product of deportations, exile, murder, theft, oppression, and Azerbaijan’s calculatingly importing Azeris to replace the Armenian majority.

The KGB’s Heydar Aliyev — father of current Azeri dictator Ilham Aliyev — admitted to exiling Artsakh’s Armenians and bringing in Azeris. Reported Russia’s REGNUM news agency: “I tried to increase the number of Azeris and to reduce the number of Armenians.”

Armenian historical figures’ titles were crudely Islamized to “Pasha” or “Bey.” Fifth century Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi became Muhammed al-Khojayi.

References to Armenian history in textbooks were excised. Even the written word Artsakh was banned.

Baku stole from Armenian schools. The material was sent to Azerbaijan. Many schools, orphanages, and libraries were shuttered.

Food processing factories were closed and the equipment transferred to Azerbaijan.

Hundreds of thousands of tons of meat, dairy products, and wool were sent to Azerbaijan instead of being provided to local Armenians.

Armenian leaders who protested were often imprisoned or sent to Siberia on orders from Baku.

Farms and cattle were confiscated.

Armenians were frequently banished. Their apartments were given to Azeri immigrants.

Museums were looted of precious artifacts, particularly those that proved Artsakh to be ancient Armenian land.

Murderous Azeri gangs were protected by Baku.

Inscriptions in the Armenian alphabet on ancient monuments were depicted as Azeri.

Armenian cemeteries were destroyed.

Complaints by Armenians to Baku went unanswered.

Petitions by Armenians were sent to Soviet Premiers Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev in 1965 and 1977, to no avail.

Fast forward to the late 1980s and early 1990s as Artsakh broke Baku’s chokehold and voted for self-determination.

Massacres, Jihadis, and More

Azerbaijan’s response was, as noted above, massacres.

Azerbaijan then invaded Artsakh. But Armenians defended their honor and native land and were victorious.

During the war, Azerbaijan deployed thousands of foreign jihadis and terrorists such as Afghan Mujahedin, Chechen militants, and Turkey’s Grey Wolves fascists to fight Armenians. Azerbaijan and Turkey are doing exactly the same thing these past weeks.

These things tell us everything we need to know about Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s malign political culture and intentions.

Azerbaijan is now executing captured Armenian POWs and filming it.

Azerbaijan is a dictatorship. Artsakh and Armenia are reformist democracies.

The current U.S. State Department report on Azerbaijan lists these problems and more: “unlawful or arbitrary killing; torture; arbitrary detention; life-threatening prison conditions; political prisoners; heavy restrictions on free expression, the press, and the internet, including violence against journalists; interference with the rights of peaceful assembly; severe restrictions on political participation; systemic government corruption; police detention and torture of lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals.”

The official U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom cites Azerbaijan for “engaging in or tolerating severe violations of religious freedom.”

Europe’s Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) gave its first “Organized Crime and Corruption Person of the Year” award to President Aliyev.

At a NATO English language course in Hungary in 2004, Azeri Lieutenant Ramil Safarov axed Armenian Lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan to death. Safarov was convicted and imprisoned. But later, Hungary illegally transferred him to Azerbaijan, where he was greeted as a national hero, awarded a medal, promoted, and given an apartment.

Imagine you lived in Artsakh. Would you ever submit to even nominal Azeri rule? Of course not.

Had Artsakh’s Armenians not voted and fought for self-determination, they would eventually have suffered the same fate as Nakhichevan’s Armenians: By 1989, Azerbaijan had forced every Armenian to leave.

Using pickaxes and dump trucks, Azeri soldiers even obliterated a 9th Century Armenian Christian cemetery in Nakhichevan along with thousands of intricately carved headstones. View the live video on Youtube’s “New Tears of the Araxes.”

International Recognition

The unjust decision and grave error made by Stalin must be corrected.

As Azerbaijan, Turkey, and jihadist terrorists continue their attempts to depopulate and occupy Artsakh, international recognition of the latter would help immeasurably.

The French parliament is now discussing doing so.

Artsakh deserves to be formally recognized right now as the independent and democratic republic it is. Artsakh awaits the awakening of the world’s conscience before it’s too late.

Much of the author’s work can be found at . He also chairs the Armenian Americans for Human Rights.

• Category: Foreign Policy, History • Tags: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Caucasus, Turkey 
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  1. Anonymous[171] • Disclaimer says:

    Why don’t the Armenians in Artsakh just move to Armenia?

    This article neglects to mention Armenians ethnically cleansing Azeris.

    The core problem with supporting Artsakh is that it removes any idea of a statute of limitations on history. Artsakh was transferred to Azeri rule more than 80 years ago and remained as such for most of its history, the time to have “taken it back” was back then, then the Armenians “took it back” in the 90s but after 3 decades failed to create a peace agreement or get international recognition for Artsakh, now that the Azeris were realizing that a pro-armenian status quo was developing and a statute of limitations logic would apply favorably to Armenia they decided to take back Artsakh. Smart move on part of the Azeris.

    A statute of limitations on history is important, without it there would be many more wars over ancient grievances. Armenia’s core problem was never getting international recognition for Artsakh. They failed to establish a legal basis for supporting Artsakh, therefore the Azeri actions are not aggression but defense in the eyes of international law. Supporting Artsakh would be supporting Armenian expansionism.

    I think the world should remain neutral in this conflict unless either the internationally recognized borders of Armenia or Azerbaijan are invaded, which is already the case with Armenian troops in Artsakh(legally Azerbaijan), but I will overlook that and remain neutral.

    • Replies: @Hudson
  2. anon[102] • Disclaimer says:

    Do you think you would be able to lie successfully to every body because you have done that to yourself?

    There is no case .

  3. anon[102] • Disclaimer says:

    Some Wiccan and Witches and followers of traditional medicines think Are nit belongs to them .

    “To get the ball rolling, Tiridates gave Saint Gregory up to 15 provinces worth of territory to establish the Armenian Church. The old pagan temples were torn down, and the whole nation was obliged to embrace the new faith. Churches and monasteries sprang up everywhere.Gregory used two powerful tools to spread the word: education and military power. Schools were established in which children of the existing pagan priestly class were prepared for the Christian priesthood. Meanwhile, military units were dispatched to destroy pagan templesites and confiscate their vast riches, which were then used to fund Christian building projects. Naturally, many temple sites, along with several rich and semi-independent feudal principalities, resisted the new policy and these were put to the sword. Historians also suggest that Tiridates the Great ( Armenian King )may well have adopted Christianity for more practical reasons than a change of faith based on his miraculous recovery of health. The end of the ancient pagan religion was a fine excuse to confiscate the old temple treasuries which were jealously guarded by a hereditary class of priests.

  4. Wyatt says:

    How ’bout we not bother supporting any of these people, not waste blood or treasure on centuries old blood feuds and let them continue to do what they’ve always done? Why is it our imperative or responsibility to do anything here?

    • Replies: @Stan
    , @Anonymous
  5. Stan says:

    Turkey and Azerbaijan would not attacking without tacit American consent. America consented to the Azerbaijan attack after Armenia rebuffed American overtures to isolate Iran.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  6. Anonymous[273] • Disclaimer says:


    Turkey and Azerbaijan do infinitely more business with Iran than does Armenia. You probably don’t know that or you would not have said what you said.

    Armenian has maybe 2 million or so people. Turkey and Azerbaijan have 91 million and have very close relations with Iran. So does Europe.

    Give us all a break, Stan.

    • Replies: @Stan
  7. Anonymous[273] • Disclaimer says:

    So why support corrupt, pro-ISIS Turkey being in NATO, Wyatt?

    Your tax dollars support Turkey and Azerbaijan.

    Did you know that?

  8. Anon[388] • Disclaimer says:

    This is an outstanding article. Unz gets credit for publishing it. It is high time to right the wrongs of history. The Armenians have suffered enough.

  9. Ricko says:

    Turkey is using its army, American-built F-16 jets, drones, and other weapons against Armenians.

    Ah, so, Israeli controlled Washington allows its military hardware to be used to destabilise states in Russia’s sphere of influence.

    When the Soviet Union collapsed many Jews had to flee. It’s to be presumed many of them lost wealth in the process. Albeit the loss of power hits these chaps as hard as a loss of money.

    This Armenian conflict basically has two objectives: 1) To destabilise the region. Divide and conquer. 2) Antagonise and provoke Russia for the “unforgivable sin” of disassembling its Jewish oligarchy.

    Ask Tsar Nicholas II and his family. The Jews, whenever they perceive they’ve been slighted, have a psychopathic hunger for revenge. Some of these really do believe that there’s a supernatural power guiding them in their quest for world mastery.

    When their world domination agenda is foiled or delayed it forces them against their will to question this innate belief in divine providence. Setbacks momentarily sows doubts in regards to their self-created Chosen People Status.

    When these doubts arise they have to be immediately erased. They can’t be easily deleted, though, if they have a basis in reality. Thus, the Jews have to falsify these doubts. A simple way to falsify unwanted thoughts is to personalise them as an invasive species.

    They then deal with this alien species by designating it a provenance, an original carrier. Next step is to deal with the provenance. It has to be removed: i.e., the wholesale slaughter and humiliation of the people that obstructed their path to world mastery.

    It wasn’t enough to dethrone the Tsar. Him and his family had also to be slaughtered like animals in an abattoir.

    The non-Goyim also had another reason for cold-bloodedly murdering the Tsar and his family. They used it to send a message to King George V of England.

    First the non-Goyim that controls England humiliated George V by forbidding him from giving his cousin the Tsar and his family sanctuary.

    The English “king” would have initially resisted this: the Tsar had been deposed, he was out of Russian politics and the Russian aristocracy had been neutered. Thus, George V would not have seen anything wrong with his cousin and his family harmlessly living out the rest of their lives in England.

    Butchering the Tsar and his family like pigs was a message to the British Royal Family. It showed them what could happen to them if they got uppity and refused to obey their masters.

    The British Royal Family have a history of backing down when they saw their cousin Royals being slaughtered in Europe. The British aristocracy quickly threw sops to hoi polloi when the French killed their Royals in the 1789 revolution.

    • Replies: @animalogic
  10. March of the anon accounts pretending to be regular Unz readership. Pathetic.

    Is this the best Kim Kardashian can do?

    • Replies: @Lot
  11. Stan says:

    There are more things under heaven and earth than trade profits. John Bolton’s visit to Armenia and Armenia’s response to John Bolton were the precursor to the current conflict.

  12. Anon[388] • Disclaimer says:

    Congratulations, UNZ, for publishing this great article.

  13. Hudson says:

    I don’t have a dog in this fight, but in my opinion 80 years is not enough.

  14. @Ricko

    I don’t doubt your reasons for liquidating the Tsar etc. However, there is a more general reason — it’s good policy.
    Allow a powerful force for counter revolution, allow a powerful focus or catylist for counter revolutionary coherence & you are almost guaranteeing years of attacks on your new regime.(Absent the Tsar,
    May be the Tsar etc might have wanted a peaceful rural existence in the UK, but I doubt others would have been so disinterested.
    Imagine, had the Nazis reached an agreement with the Tsar etc, such that they could claim to be acting for the Tsar’s rightful & legitimate claims to rule — it would have given them significant support within parts of the USSR.

  15. I would also argue that western Armenia is re-established along with the Republic of Pontus.

  16. SZ says:

    The government of Artsakh, or whatever they call themselves, had three full decades to work for recognition as well as to cut a deal with Azerbaijan, such as abandoning some of the land in exchange for independence, while they still had the upper hand. Now it’s too late for that type of a manoeuvrer.
    When two ethnie clash for one and the same geography, the only long-term and stable solution is partition of the land followed by an orderly population exchange. Like Turkey and Greece did after 1923, also agreed by, and run through between, Greece and Bulgaria.
    When there is no partition of a certain geography then one or the other population group loses the entire land. Hungary insisted on having all of Transylvania, in the end, they lost all of it. Serbia insisted on the ‘serbness’ of entire Kosovo, instead they lost all of it. They could have retained, at the very least, Mitrovica and surroundings. The Whites of South Africa wanted to rule the whole of that vast country, now they are a hopeless and dwindling minority in a soon-to-be-failed-state run by several dysfunctional Bantu clans.
    The same stupidity had also beset the then Armenian leadership in 1915 when they aligned with imperial Russia in order to carve out an independent Armenia in a wide geography where they at most constituted a quarter of the total population (while Kurds were the clear majority). In the end, they lost both the land and the people.
    As a successful example, Croatia, on the other hand, played her hands quite well during the partition of Yugoslavia, exactly because they did not try to swallow Bosnia, though some dreamers among them wanted to. Kazakhstan is also doing quite well retaining Russian-majority areas, not because they fought 0ver that geography and won, but because they really never separated from Russia at all, and are abiding their time counting on the slightly higher Kazakh birth rate, while in the meantime showing humility towards their huge neighbour and deferring to their strategic interests.
    Hubris and overconfidence towards a much larger enemy is a dangerous game as Germany experienced against Russia, or Greece and Armenia against Turkey.
    Three full decades of stupidity of, and inaction by, their leaders will unfortunately have a toll on the population of Artsakh. Though I doubt Azerbaijani troops will ever enter Stepanakert, where some form of international protection will be set up, though for a much smaller Karabakh Autonomous Region compared to what it was in the 1980s and with Azerbaijan retaining the Lachin corridor, thus, curbing any hopes of a unification with Armenia.

    • Replies: @Cato
  17. Lot says:
    @Supply and Demand

    My account is 5+ years old, and I agree with the author. God bless and grant victory to Armenia!

  18. Cato says:

    When there is no partition of a certain geography then one or the other population group loses the entire land. Hungary insisted on having all of Transylvania, in the end, they lost all of it. Serbia insisted on the ‘serbness’ of entire Kosovo, instead they lost all of it. They could have retained, at the very least, Mitrovica and surroundings. The Whites of South Africa wanted to rule the whole of that vast country, now they are a hopeless and dwindling minority in a soon-to-be-failed-state run by several dysfunctional Bantu clans.
    The same stupidity had also beset the then Armenian leadership in 1915 when they aligned with imperial Russia in order to carve out an independent Armenia in a wide geography where they at most constituted a quarter of the total population (while Kurds were the clear majority). In the end, they lost both the land and the people.

    Blockquoteing this because it is so true, and thank you SZ for elucidating it.

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