The events that took place in Artsakh (formerly the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region) in February 1988 fundamentally changed not only the subsequent chronicle of the indigenous Armenian people living here, but also other peoples of the former Soviet Union, the National Assembly of Artsakh said in a statement on the occasion of Artsakh Revival Day.
The day celebrates the first protests that led to the start of the Karabakh movement on 20 February.
“Tens of thousands of people, using the liberal and democratic ideas proclaimed in the USSR, sought to restore historical justice through peaceful rallies in Stepanakert and other parts of the region, the unfulfilled dream of several generations to reunite the Armenian region with Armenia,” the Parliament said.
“The movement, which was gaining momentum day by day, initially adopted a path of solving the issue in a peaceful way through legal and political means, which was unequivocally confirmed on February 20 at the 20th special session of the former representative body, the regional Council of People’s Deputies. The historic decision to withdraw the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) from the Azerbaijani SSR and reunite it with the Armenian SSR signaled a new stage in the Artsakh national liberation struggle, the Karabakh movement, the civilized determination of the people of Artsakh to advance legally,” the MPs said.
Unfortunately, they added, the leadership of the Azerbaijani SSR was not able to use the unique opportunity to resolve the issue correctly, as a result of which the region found itself in a trap of lasting instability and Azerbaijan’s temptation to solve the issue by military means.
“As a result of the February 20 decision expressing the will and desire of the absolute majority of the population of the region, Artsakh righteously became a symbol of pride and national awakening of all Armenians. The wave of the Karabakh movement spread all over the world and as a result of the organized struggle of all sections of the Armenian people, the two Armenian republics were formed in the early 90s of the last century,” the statement reads.
The Republic of Artsakh, proclaimed on September 2, 1991 n accordance with the requirements of international and domestic law, was a conscious haven on the road to a united Armenian state.
“Our people paid a very high price in the struggle for the freedom and independence of Artsakh. Thousands of Armenians sacrificed their lives in the wars of 1991-94, 2016 and 2020. The Republic of Artsakh exists today and continues its struggle for international recognition due to the self-sacrifice of those brave people,” the MPs said, paying homage to their immortal memory.
“In the last 34 years, we have come a long way in terms of development, victories and failures, and during this period the idea that the future of Armenian Artsakh is guaranteed only by the prospect of living freely and independently has been strengthened,” the Parliament added.
Expressing the collective will and opinion of the people of Artsakh, the National Assembly of the Artsakh Republic reaffirms its commitment to the historic decision of 20 February 1988 and its determination to defend its right to live freely on its own land.
The MPsS draw the the attention of all international actors, first of all, the parliaments of the Minsk Group co-chairing countries, to the fact that the Armenian people of Artsakh have struggled for centuries to preserve their identity, created material and cultural values that are under threat as a result of the occupation of some territories by Azerbaijan.
The Parliament calls on the Minsk Group Co-Chairs to take immediate steps to resume the negotiation process on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in accordance with the OSCE mandate.
“Local peace and stability in the region can only be achieved by respecting the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people of the Artsakh Republic. That is why the Armenians of Artsakh started their liberation struggle in 1988 and are ready to continue it with the determination to achieve the final goal,” the National Assembly concluded.