The territorial claim over the
Nagorno-Karabakh region has profound and deep roots. Between the 1918
and 1920, at the end of World War I, both Armenia and Azerbaijan gained their independence from the Russian Empire. The independence brought
with it the disputed claim over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory which was
formally in Azerbaijan’s borders but inhabited by Armenians (Väyrynen,
In 1920, the Soviet Union encompassed the two countries, and
possessed a significant part of their independence. The URSS established
the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) in 1923, as part of the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan. As in Miller’s words: “The conflict lay
dormant but did not die”.
During the 1980s, the Gorbachev’s liberal policies weakened the control over the Caucasus, and as a consequence, many strikes and protests emerged in the region. Armenians
from the Nagorno-Karabakh reclaimed their membership to Armenia, and thousand of Azerbaijanis left the region (Väyrynen, 2008). The conflict reached its peak in 1989 when thousand of people died in one of the most cruel battles in the Caucasus (Hensilki Commision report, 2017). The violence lasted until May 1994 when a cease-fire, the Bishkek Protocol, was signed by Armenia and Azerbaijan (Hensilki Commision report, 2017).