Artsakh – Brief Historical Background and Falsifications by Azerbaijan

Artsakh – Brief Historical

The Republic of Artsakh incorporates the territory of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast and 7 adjacent regions of the former Azerbaijan SSR, which together comprise the territory of the historical Armenian province of Artsakh.

Azerbaijani falsification number 1: the so-called “20%”

The total area of the Republic of Artsakh (former NKR) is around 11,500 square kilometers, which is 13% of the territory of the former Azerbaijani SSR (86,600 square kilometers). However, you will never hear from the lips of the leaders of Azerbaijan this figure. According to the president of this country Ilham Aliyev, it’s 20%, while Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Russia Polad Bülbüloğlu claims it’s 25%. 20%, 21%, 23%, and 25% are also sometimes claimed.

Azerbaijani falsification number 2: the so-called “Occupation by Armenia”

The USSR, as you know, collapsed on December 26, 1991. The referendum on the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh was held on December 10, 1991. According to the results of this referendum, 99.94% of the oblast’s population voted for their independence.

On December 26, 1991, Azerbaijan became an independent state and by this time, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) had ALREADY been an independent state. However, Azerbaijan did not recognize the results of the referendum and declared war on Artsakh.

A 100,000-strong army was sent to Artsakh to “destroy the Armenians”, as the first president of Azerbaijan Ayaz Niyazi oglu Mutalibov phrased it. However, Azerbaijan miscalculated and underestimated the Armenians.

Artsakh withstood. Not only that, but the Azerbaijani army lost 36,000 soldiers (Azerbaijan recognizes the loss of only 14,000 of them, the remaining casualties are still covered up), 15,000 surrendered, and 50,000 were wounded. The latter together with the rest shamefully fled from Artsakh and its neighboring 7 districts.

Azerbaijani falsification number 3: the problem of refugees.

Azerbaijanis claim that as a result of this conflict, 1 million Azerbaijanis became refugees. However, according to the 1989 census, in the territory of then-Nagorno-Karabakh, 7 adjacent regions, and Armenia itself, there were only 602.195 Azerbaijanis in total, including:

  • Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast – 40,688
  • Aghdam district – 131,293
  • Fizuli district – 105,287
  • Jabrail district – 59,101
  • Zangelan district – 32,500
  • Kubatly district – 31,504
  • Lachin district – 63,000
  • Kelbajar District – 53,962
  • Armenia – 84,860 (1989 census)

Moreover, almost all “Azerbaijanis” in the Kelbajar, Kubatly, Lachin, and Zangelan regions were not Azerbaijanis at all. They were Kurds who had been settled here by the Persian authorities in place of the exiled Armenians. And in the 1920s, here was the Kurdish Autonomy with its capital in the city of Lachin. The Autonomy was disbanded by the government of the Azerbaijan SSR, and all local Kurds would then be counted as “Azerbaijanis”.

Another important moment – the Armenians control only half of the Aghdam and half of the Fizuli regions. That is, from 602,195, we must subtract about 120,000 people who live in the areas of Aghdam and Fizuli NOT controlled by the Artsakh Defense Forces.

Thus, as a result of the war, from the Azerbaijani side, 482,195 people became refugees – about 170,000 Kurds and 312,000 Turks. And this includes the territory of Armenia itself and the so-called “buffer zone around Karabakh.” Where the figure “1 million Azerbaijani refugees from Karabakh” comes from is known only to Azerbaijanis themselves.

IMPORTANT! Refugees were not only from the Azerbaijanis but also from the Armenians.

Before the conflict, 480,000 Armenians lived in the territory of the Azerbaijan SSR, of which 140,000 were in Karabakh and 340,000 in Baku, Sumgait, Kirovabad, Nakhichevan, and other areas. They all became refugees.

Thus, in this war, we have about 822,000 refugees in total, including:

  • 340,000 Armenians
  • 312,000 Turks
  • 170,000 Kurds

As we see, there is simply no “one million Azerbaijani refugees from Karabakh.” It’s a myth just like the “20%-25% occupied territories.”


In the Republic of Artsakh, there are 360 villages and 12 cities, the largest of which is Stepanakert, the capital of the republic.

There are 640 churches and monasteries and 4 mosques in the republic (this, by the way, is in “Muslim” Karabakh). At the same time, all 4 mosques were built in the 18th-19th centuries, and the oldest church dates back to the 4th century! This is a monastery founded by King of Greater Armenia Trdat III. In this monastery, Mesrop Mashtots would establish the first school in Armenia.

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