Nagorno-Karabakh, an unrecognized homeland
20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, this project depicts a country in search of identity, a land and its people, stuck between a soviet past, an unrecognized present and an uncertain future.
During the Soviet Period, this historically Armenian soil called as Nagorno-Karabakh, is integrated into the Socialist Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan. In the final years of the Soviet Union, the region re-emerged as a source of dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh’s demand was clearly to be united with Armenia or to become independent.
Twenty years ago, in December 1991, the USSR collapsed. The 15 states that were part of it became independent republics.
Nagorno-Karabakh - one of these 15 states - declared its independence in September 1991 after a referendum. While Armenia recognized their claim, Azerbaijan rejected this new status.
Between 1991 and 1994, a war torn conflict divided Nagorno-Karabakh with Azerbaijan, causing thousands of casualties, and resulting in hundreds of thousands of refugees, which occurred on both sides.
The violent conflict continued till a ceasefire was adopted in 1994. Hostilities between the two opposing sides have officially stopped. Nevertheless sporadic fighting is still a common occurrence in the border areas. No peace process has officially been agreed despite the efforts of the Minsk Group – created in 1992 by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe to encourage a peaceful, negotiated resolution
to the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh – which holds regularly the peace negotiations.
Today NKR is a self-proclaimed independent state, identifying itself as Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR). Mainly populated by Armenians, this state is unrecognized and still considered by the international community as part of Azerbaijan. Only Transnistria, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia recognize the state.
Unstable due to its unrecognized status, it receives financial support from its allies (Armenia, USA, Iran and Georgia) while there is still an economical blockade from Azerbaijan and Turkey.
Socially, the population continues to suffer from the consequences of the conflict. While the older generations are fighting for their basic rights (pension, recognition, and refugee status), the younger generations are trying to find a role in a nation in the making without forgotten the lost of a father, a brother or a son. It is estimated that a third of the population of NKR, around 43 000, have been involved in the conflict.
Recently in Marh 2011 the Presidents of Armenia and of Azerbaijan underlined, during a meeting with President Medvedev, their gratitude towards the permanent attention made by the Minsk group to find a solution to the conflict. Nevertheless later in June 2011, the Armenian President Serge Sarkissian declared it will be extremely difficult to convince the public opinion in Armenia and in Nagorno-Karabakh with the necessity of making concessions.