in Russian — https://miaban.ru/info/artsakh/europe-2-ru/
Alexander Manasyan, Doctor of Philosophy, Stepanakert (Republic of Artsakh)
A previous article in IA Regnum dated October 13, 2020 (in English — http://crossroadorg.info/en/manasyan-13-10-2020_en/, in Russian — https://regnum.ru/news/polit/3088513.html) listed some of the arguments of the Armenian side, justifying the non-belonging of Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan. The article proposed below talks about Europe’s responsibility for the political act of incorrect recognition of Azerbaijan in 1991.
Nagorno-Karabakh is an Armenian territory, where various forms of statehood characteristic to the Middle Ages had continuously existed, until the joining of the South Caucasus to Russia. From 1918-1920 during the collapse of the Russian Empire, the Congresses of the plenipotentiaries of Nagorno-Karabakh proclaimed the region an integral part of the [First] Republic of Armenia. Among other things, on the basis of this expression of will in 1921, Soviet Armenia also proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh to be an integral part. However, without any reason, the Bolshevik Party of Russia tore away Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenia and included it in the Azerbaijani SSR (AzSSR) with the condition to grant it broad regional autonomy.
But in 1923, in violation of this annexationist decision, Baku decreed national autonomy to only one fourth of Karabakh, and throughout the subsequent Soviet years, the Armenians continued to protest this arbitrary decision. In February 1988, an extraordinary session of the Regional Council of Nagorno-Karabakh appealed to the authorities of Baku, Yerevan and Moscow with a request to consider the issue of reuniting the region with Armenia, to which Baku responded with the massacre of Armenians in Sumgait. This was followed by pogroms throughout Azerbaijan SSR. The European Parliament Resolution on September 12, 1988 read:
“Taking into account the historical status of the autonomous region of Nagorno-Karabakh (80 % of whose present population is Armenian) as part of Armenia, and the arbitrary inclusion of this area within Azerbaijan in 1923 and due to the massacre of Armenians in the Azerbaijani town of Sumgait in February 1988, [European Parliament]… supports the demand of the Armenian minority [of Karabakh] for reunification with the Socialist Republic of Armenia.” http://miaban.ru/info/armenia/ep-12-9-1988-en/
After the collapse of the USSR, Baku unleashed a war against the proclaimed independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR, the Republic of Artsakh). During the war 1991-1994, the NKR Self-Defense Army liberated the territories that were supposed to be part of the autonomous region. It is enough to look at a map to convince that all these territories are within the natural geography of Nagorno-Karabakh, which should have been given the status of an Armenian region.
FOUR KEY LEGAL FACTS WHICH DROPPED OUT FROM THE IMAGE OF THE CONFLICT
- The act on the sovereignty of the NKR was ensured by the USSR Law of April 3, 1990 «On the Procedure for Resolving Issues Related to the Secession of the Union Republic from the USSR.» (which granted the right to autonomous formations and compactly living national groups to independently decide the issue of their state and legal status in case of the exit of the union republic from the USSR).
- In August-October 1991, the Republic of Azerbaijan, which refused the succession of the AzSSR, proclaimed itself the legal successor of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR), which in 1918 was actually established by the Turkish troops invading the region. The ADR, which had no jurisdiction over Nagorno-Karabakh, was refused admission by the League of Nations and in 1920 left history without recognized or established boundaries. Returning in 1991 to the realities of 1918-1920, Baku also lost those illegal rights that they got from Bolsheviks who came to power in Moscow.
- These generally known facts were sufficient to reach the conclusion that the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in September-December 1991 proclaimed sovereignty in the territories not belonging to the Republic of Azerbaijan.
- Even if we proceed from the absence of these arguments, then in 1991 the norm of international law on the free self-determination of peoples was sufficient to recognize the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, in respect of which Baku has pursued a policy of genocide for decades.
KEY POLITICAL FACT
Recognizing the Republic of Azerbaijan in 1992 with territories not legally belonging to it, Europe was guided by considerations of the safe dismantling of a nuclear superpower, which had been the USSR. All of the above legal facts were well known to Europe. It was also known that, starting with the Sumgait massacres, Baku had long been pursuing the policy of forcing Armenians out from the Republic of Azerbaijan by brutal means. Everything was known to Europe.
Europe not only avoided adequately assessing what was happening but also did not call the crimes of Azerbaijan a ‘genocide’ — by her decision in 1991 to recognize the Republic of Azerbaijan with the annexed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Europe in fact gave approval to Azerbaijan for the continuation of this genocidal policy. Political expediency, which guided her, turned into a provocation for permitting this behavior from Baku and Ankara, which have now become centers of global terrorism. It turned out that Europe became complicit in the genocidal policy pursued by Azerbaijan and Turkey against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh in the current war. It is time for Europe to realize its inadvertent complicity and make amends by recognizing the independence of the Republic of Artsakh (NKR) with haste to prevent further calamity.
This article in other web resources:
«Armenian community in Russia» group in Facebook
«Groong — Armenian News Network» in Facebook