About the NKR Office
NKR Representative in USA
Office Staff
Position Papers
Artsakh Newsletter
Press Releases
Events and Speeches
Visa and Travel Information
Contact Us
Country Overview
National Assembly
NKR Army
State Symbols
NKR Constitution
National Holidays
Mass Media
Travel, Tourism & General Info
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
NKR Representations Abroad
10 Reasons to Invest in Artsakh
A Word from the Prime Minister
Economic Reforms
Tax Policies & Investments
Finances, Banks, Foreign Trade
Food Processing
Energy Production
Doing Business in Karabakh
Water and Sanitation
Health Care
Landmine Clearance
Schools, Culture and Sport
Landslide and Flood Prevention
Road Infrastructure
Civil Society Development
Daily News
NKR Office's Press Releases
Artsakh Newsletter
Articles and Interviews
NKR Position
Brief History
Legal Folder
US Responce and Involvement
Chronology of Key Events
The Karabagh File
The Black Garden
The Sumgait Tragedy
Ethnic Cleansing In Progress
The Caucasian Knot
More(in MS Word format)
Blueprint for Resolution
Link and Other Materials
Nagorno Karabakh until 1918
Nagorno Karabakh in 1918-20
Establishment of Soviet Rule
Azerbaijans Discrimination
Struggle for Freedom 1923-88
Developments of 1988-90
Sumgait Massacre of 1988
Ethnic Cleansing Campaigns
Declaration of Independence
Armed Conflict 1991-94
Islamic Mercenaries in NK War
1990 USSR Law on Secession
OSCE Minsk Conference
The Cease-Fire Agreement
Prospects for Peace
Current Developments
Why is there a conflict?
Parties to the Conflict
Independence or Reunification?
Nation Building
Controlled Territories

Struggle for Freedom 1923-1988

The authorities of Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic (AzSSR) systematically and persistently violated the rights and interests of the Armenian population of the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast during the entire period of its existence under Azeri rule. Azerbaijan viewed Nagorno Karabakh primarily as a source for raw materials. Its policy of discrimination against Nagorno Karabakh was aimed at artificial suppression of its social-economic development and active de-Armenianization. Armenian monuments and cultural artifacts were destroyed or presented as Azeri origin. Because of this discrimination, the Armenian population never abandoned its intent to secede from Azerbaijan. Trying to avoid the same plight of Nakhichevan, an area once heavily populated by Armenians but of which eventually disappeared, Nagorno Karabakh Armenians saw secession as the only guarantee for a secure future.

Their struggle against the Azeris used many methods and took different forms despite Azerbaijan's efforts to crush it. As early as the 1920s, the Central Committee of the Communist Party (CCCP) of Azerbaijan was forced to discuss issues pertaining to the Karabakh movement. Many leaders of NKAO and its regions were accused of nationalism and were punished in the 1920-1930-ies; some communist party organizations were disbanded in Nagorno Karabakh.

A number of attempts were made to raise the Nagorno Karabakh issue before the central authorities of the USSR after WW II (in 1945, 1965, 1967, and 1977). Representatives of the people of Nagorno Karabakh appealed to Moscow with numerous letters and petitions. 45,000 people signed a petition in 1965. Based on this petition, the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) ordered the CCCPs of Armenia and Azerbaijan to jointly investigate the Nagorno Karabakh problem. Nevertheless, Azerbaijan once again sidestepped a possible resolution to the problem by finding support among influential leaders in the USSR.

The Azerbaijani authorities policies against the Armenian included the provocation of ethnic clashes. In the guise of crushing popular protests, Azerbaijani authorities shot and jailed nearly twenty Armenians, while more than ten disappeared, and more than 150 were suppressed. More than 100 families were forced to leave Karabakh due to persecutions, which lasted for two years. These violent acts were initiated and implemented by former KGB head and current President of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev.

Numerous suggestions regarding the Nagorno Karabakh issue were made during the discussions about the new USSR Constitution in 1977. Despite the fact that top-level officials acknowledged the problem, a solution was deferred indefinitely.

For example, the Presidium of the USSR Council of Ministers
stated the following on November 23, 1977:

"As a result of a number of historic circumstances, Nagorno Karabakh was artificially annexed to Azerbaijan several decades ago. In this process, the historic past of the oblast [region], its ethnic composition, the will of its people and economic interests were not taken into consideration. Decades passed, and the Karabakh problem continues to raise concern and cause moments of animosity between the two peoples, who are connected with ages-old friendship. Nagorno Karabakh (Armenian name Artsakh) should be made part of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. In this case everything will take its legal place."

From the November 23, 1977 session of the
Presidium of the USSR Council of Ministers

However, the Central Committee of the CPSU rejected this suggestion.


734 15th Street, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005
tel: (202) 481-3341, e-mail: info@nkrusa.org