Karabakh movement

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Karabakh movement
Part of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Artsakh movement 2013 post stamp.png
A 2013 post stamp dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the movement showing people with raised fists in Yerevan's Theatre Square and the Opera Theatre in the background in 1988
Date February 1988 — 1991
Location Soviet Armenia (mainly Yerevan)
Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast
Goals Unification of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia
Methods Demonstrations, sit-ins, strikes, hunger strike, student protest, civil disobedience
Result Establishment of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
Escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh War
Parties to the civil conflict
Lead figures
1 million[2]

The Karabakh movement (Armenian: Ղարաբաղյան շարժում, also the Artsakh Movement[6][7] Արցախյան շարժում) was a mass nationalist movement[8] in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh from 1988 to 1992 that advocated for the transfer of the mainly Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast of neighboring Soviet Azerbaijan to the jurisdiction of Soviet Armenia.

Initially, the movement was entirely devoid of any anti-Soviet sentiment and did not call for independence of Armenia. The Karabakh Committee, a group of intellectuals, led the movement from 1988 to 1989. It transformed into the Pan-Armenian National Movement (HHSh) by 1989 and won majority in the 1990 parliamentary election. In 1991, both Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh declared independence. The intense fighting known as the Nagorno-Karabakh War turned into a full-scale war by 1992.




  • February 13: First demonstration in Stepanakert.[10] Traditionally considered the start of the movement.[11]
  • February 18–26: Major demonstrations held in Yerevan for the unification of Karabakh with Armenia.[12]
  • February 20: the NKAO Supreme Council issued a request to transfer the region to Soviet Armenia
  • February 22–23: Local Armenians and Azerbaijanis clash in Askeran, resulting in several deaths
  • February 26: Demonstrations paused after Mikhail Gorbachev's asked for time to develop a position.[13]
  • February 27–29: Sumgait pogrom starts, Armenians of Azerbaijan start to leave in large numbers[13]
  • March 9: Gorbachev meets with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan Karen Demirchyan and Kamran Baghirov in Moscow to discuss the public demands of unification of Armenia and Karabakh.[14]
  • March 22: Over 100,000 people discontented with the tendencies demonstrate in Yerevan.[15]
  • March 23: The Soviet Supreme Soviet rejects the demand of NKAO Regional Party.[15]
  • March 25: Gorbachev rejects Armenian claims, forbade demonstrations in Yerevan.[15]
  • March 26: Despite not being authorized by the Moscow government, tens of thousands demonstrate in Yerevan.[16]
  • March 30: NKAO Communist Party adopts a resolution demanding unification.[16]
  • April 24: Hundreds of thousands of Armenians march to the genocide memorial in Yerevan.[16]
  • May 21: Karen Demirchyan resigns.
  • May 28: Flag of Armenia first raised in front of Matenadaran.[17]
  • June 15: Soviet Armenian Supreme Council votes in favor of the unification of NKAO.[17]
  • June 17: Soviet Azerbaijani Supreme Council opposes the transfer of NKAO to Armenia.[17]
  • June 28–29: Conference of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union dissaproves Armenian claims to NKAO.[17]
  • July 5: Zvartnots Airport clash, the Soviet troops confronted by protesters in Zvartnots Airport, one man left dead, tens injured.[18]
  • July 12: NKAO Soviet Council votes in favor of unification with Armenia.[18]
  • July 18: Soviet Supreme Council refuses Armenian claims.[18]
  • July 21: Paruyr Hayrikyan deported to Ethiopia.[18]
  • fall: Around 150,000 Azerbaijanis of Armenia start to leave in large numbers.
  • September: State of emergency declared in Stepanakert after Armenian and Azerbaijanis clash.
  • November: Kirovabad pogrom
  • November 7: Hundreds of thousands demonstrate in Yerevan to support the Karabakh Committee.[19]
  • November 22: Soviet Armenian Supreme Council recognizes the Armenian Genocide.[19]
  • November 24: State of emergency declared in Yerevan.[19]
  • December 7: Spitak earthquake.
  • December 10: Karabakh Committee members arrested, sent to Moscow.[20]





  1. Flag of Armenia was adopted on August 24, 1990.
  2. "Pravda Talks of Ethnic Woes". New York Times. 19 April 1988. Retrieved 16 July 2013. As many as one million people demonstrated in the Armenian capital of Yerevan in February to demand that Nagorno-Karabakh be made part of Armenia<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=WYVKAAAAIBAJ&sjid=-CINAAAAIBAJ&pg=3373,2883235&dq=baku+armenians&hl=en
  4. "Mass Protests Said to Flare In Soviet Armenian Capital". New York Times. 31 May 1988. Retrieved 16 July 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Soviet Armenia erupts in protests". The Daily News. 24 February 1988. Retrieved 16 July 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "An event dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Artsakh Movement taken place at the US Congress". Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. 13 February 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "The Artsakh Movement started on this day 25 years ago". Public Radio of Armenia. 20 February 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Panossian, Razmik (2006). The Armenians: From Kings and Priests to Merchants and Commissars. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 385. ISBN 9780231139267. The Gharabagh movement in Armenia—as mobilised for and through the issue of the enclave’s unification to the republic—is a prime example of a mass nationalist movement.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Reports of demonstrations in Yerevan and Clashes in Mountainous Karabagh". Asbarez. 24 October 1987. Archived from the original on September 14, 2007. Retrieved 29 May 2013. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. de Waal 2003, p. 11.
  11. "Karabakh Armenians mark 25th anniversary of liberation movement". ArmeniaNow. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Verluise 1995, p. 86.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Verluise 1995, p. 87.
  14. Verluise 1995, p. 89.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Verluise 1995, p. 90.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Verluise 1995, p. 91.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Verluise 1995, p. 92.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Verluise 1995, p. 93.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Verluise 1995, p. 97.
  20. Verluise 1995, p. 99.
  21. Zürcher, Christoph (2007). The Post-Soviet Wars: Rebellion, Ethnic Conflict, and Nationhood in the Caucasus ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). New York: New York University Press. p. 168. ISBN 9780814797099.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>