THE HAYK INSTITUTE
YEREVAN BRANCH YEREVAN EXPERIMENTAL AND RESEARCH LABORATORY
FOR PEACE AND COOPERATION IN THE CAUCASUS
According to the spiritual and moral values professed by progressive-minded people throughout the world, truth is that light which pierces the darkness and conquers lies, injustice, violence, and backwardness. Justice, right, freedom, and prosperity are promoted by the light of truth.
Falsity costs humanity dearly, and very often the cost staggers the human soul. The most glaring example in modern history is Nazism, which was one of the greatest evils in the history of mankind. The lie of Nazism generated violence, war, and destruction. When truth emerged triumphant, peace, freedom and prosperity ensued. And when the truth about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was revealed, this truth became a basis for freedom and development of the Baltic countries and a foundation for the prosperity of that region. In order for the same thing to happen in the case of the Caucasus, the truth about Nagorno-Karabakh must be brought forth.
According to our research and observations, however, on the whole there has been no truth, either from a historical, or international-law, or political perspective, in international discussions and resolutions adopted to date dealing with the issues of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The truth about Nagorno-Karabakh has also been largely absent from the international media, with all the resultant negative consequences.
First, the side of truth and justice which is being subjected to violence, in this case the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, possesses in contrast to its experienced adversaries -- who are skilled at delivering false propaganda -- neither the organizational structures, nor the resources, nor the experience to deliver the truth to the conscience of the international community, to defend the rights of its people by confronting the false propaganda being carried out by its savvy opponents, who are bringing to bear the formidable resources of the state. It is this which is the reality, not the claim that influential circles within the Armenian Diaspora are exerting powerful influence on governments and the media.
Second, mediator countries and organizations address the process of resolving the problems and antagonisms of the region largely from the point of view of their own interests and their position of power, often ignoring and violating standards of international law and ethics as well as human and national rights. Thus they perforce become complacent toward ongoing crimes against a portion of mankind, in this instance the Armenian people.
The principal purpose of this Memorandum is to reveal, to clarify, and to inform, as well as to alert the international community -- and first and foremost those organizations and states which are concerned with and responsible for international peace, stability, cooperation and prosperity -- to the fact that present tendencies and approaches to resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which fail to consider, which sidestep, which neglect and ignore the historical, political, and international-legal facts about Nagorno-Karabakh, cannot produce positive results.
From the very beginning, and especially since 1996, approaches applied to resolve the Karabakh issue have been unable to create the desired peace, political stability, and economic cooperation in the region, because they are based on a policy of imposing unlawful, humiliating, and unworkable terms on the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. As we perceive and project the process of historical development, in the 21st century efforts to achieve coexistence, cooperation, and universal prosperity can only be productive if they are based on a long-range principle which is to the benefit of all parties, taking into consideration historical facts, political facts, and facts of international law. At the present time, however, they are attempting to apply to the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh a shortsighted principle of unlawful pressure and extraction of immediate material and other advantage.
Such efforts, which are being directed against the historic and contemporary rights of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, against their dignity, against their right to live free, and even to the point of threatening their physical existence, will be very short-lived, even if they enjoy initial success. Our research shows convincingly that in the final analysis efforts to accomplish this end will come up empty, bringing detriment to all parties by virtue of economic, political and, especially, human losses. This prognosis is based on study of the region, its history, the mentality of its peoples, their psychology, their spiritual and moral values.
Presentation of the truth about Nagorno-Karabakh to the world is long overdue. The truth should be told, and it should prevail in the negotiation process as well. This is in both the present and long-term interests of the two parties to the conflict as well as of the countries which have a stake in the region. Only the truth can produce a solution which is just and beneficial to all parties. In presenting the facts, we consider it to be essential that first and foremost all interested parties, mediators, as well as international legal institutions and the press, become acquainted without delay with the presented facts and conclusions, and help that party which is in the right -- the party which has, however, been victimized -- in the name of truth, guided by conscience and justice, in the name of universal peace and prosperity.
Nagorno-Karabakh has never been a part of any territory called Azerbaijan. Moreover, it has never belonged to a state called the Azerbaijan Republic. Nagorno-¼Karabakh was unlawfully and forcibly incorporated into the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic by the Bolshevik Party, with the direct participation of and under pressure by Joseph Stalin. Nevertheless it was given for all intents and purposes the status of autonomous region [oblast] with broad rights, that is, a Soviet-type statehood, which was to constitute at the same time a legal guarantee of the protection of the statehood status of the entire Armenian population of Azerbaijan.
The Karabakh [its Armenian name in antiquity was Artsakh] has been the homeland of Armenians since before Christ. The Kura River is mentioned in all early historical sources as the northeastern border of the Armenian state. After the fall of the Armenian state (428 AD), the local Armenian Aranshahik ruling clan led the struggle of the Armenians for sovereignty. At the end of the 5th century it restored Armenian statehood in Artsakh and, in forms specific to statehood in the East, preserved it right up into the 19th century. Armenians have comprised the fundamental ethnic element in all states which have existed in Artsakh/Karabakh throughout the centuries, including the Karabakh Khanate.
History knows well the significant role played by the Khachen Armenian principality, headed by Aranshahik Hasan Jalalian, especially during the period of the Mongol-Tatar invasions, in the political and economic history of Armenia and the entire Eastern Transcaucasus.
In 1918-1920, during the collapse of the Russian Empire, the Armenian sovereign national state entity of Nagorno-Karabakh emerged on the basis of historical legitimacy and under the leadership of a duly constituted authority, the National Council. This was followed during the Soviet years by the Autonomous Region of Nagorno-Karabakh and, subsequently, by the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, the legal successor of the Autonomous Region.
It was not until early in the present century, in 1918, that a state entity emerged in multiethnic Eastern Transcaucasia under the name Azerbaijan. The idea of creating that state was conceived by Turkey, and it was Turkey which carried the idea to fruition when, in 1918, as Imperial Germany's main ally, and encouraged in particular by the rout of the British and Australian forces at Gallipoli, taking advantage of the massive withdrawal of Russian forces from the Russo-Turkish front in connection with the October Revolution, it invaded Transcaucasia, seized Baku, and brought to power the Musavat Party of the local Turks (the Caucasian Tatars).
During those same years Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh, resisting both an onslaught by Turkish regular forces and by armed formations of the Turkey-subservient Musavat government of Azerbaijan, remained independent and under the leadership of its own legitimate authorities, and continued to exist following the accession of the Bolsheviks to power.
In 1921 Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh was incorporated into Soviet Azerbaijan through machinations and crude pressure applied by Soviet Russia's Bolshevik Government, for the purpose of exporting socialism to the East in order to establish a strong non-national center, with the aim of creating a Soviet-type unified state union of Muslims and Armenians. In that same year, with a like status of autonomous region, the Armenian region of Nakhichevan was made a protectorate of Soviet Azerbaijan. In both cases Soviet Azerbaijan was handed territories lawfully belonging to Soviet Armenia.
These territorial alterations, carried out against the will of the Armenian population and forced on Armenia by unlawful and terroristic Bolshevik pressure, nevertheless were officially registered by intergovernmental multilateral treaties and resolutions. The following treaties and resolutions concerned the territories annexed away from Armenia: The Russian-Turkish Treaty of Moscow (March 1921) the Treaty of Kars (October 1921), entered into, with the participation of Soviet Russia, by Turkey and the Soviet Republics in Transcaucasia -- Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan and the Caucasus Bureau Resolution (July 1921) passed by the party and by government leaders of the Transcaucasian states, with the participation of Russia representative, Joseph Stalin. These multilateral intergovernmental treaties and resolutions were not repudiated by the subsequently-formed USSR, and during the entire Soviet period determined the specific legal status of those territories, according to which matters pertaining to these territories could not be viewed as the internal affair of Soviet Azerbaijan or of its legal successor. The demise of the USSR does not alter the situation from a legal standpoint, since certain documents determining the status of the above-mentioned territories were adopted prior to formation of the USSR. In the case of Nakhichevan they were adopted by the sovereign Soviet republics of Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, as well as by Turkey and Soviet Russia, while in the case of Nagorno-Karabakh they were adopted by the three sovereign republics of Transcaucasia and Soviet Russia.
These treaties, which have not been repudiated and which still stand today, have a number of important legal consequences:
These treaties and resolutions, as well as legal documents adopted by the conflicting parties during the breakup of the USSR, comprise those true foundations which can provide just and sound solution to the problem, while avoiding lawlessness and violence. The fact is that their absence at the negotiating table and ignoring them in general can result in falsification and intentional misrepresentation, and subsequently could give rise to future cruel tragedies.
The following legal conclusions proceed from these foundations (even if we ignore the fact that any state-political relationship of Nagorno-Karabakh with Azerbaijan was directly linked to the arbitrary, tyrannical rule of Bolshevik Russia):
The Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh is a sovereign state which has legitimately existed both on historical and contemporary Armenian territory, and should be recognized as such, since this is the truth about Nagorno-Karabakh.
Acknowledgment of this truth becomes a powerful foundation for peace, stability, cooperation, and prosperity in the region. It can also serve as a basis for securing the immediate and, especially, long-term interests of all countries with a stake in this region.