The history between Armenia and Azerbaijan is extremely complex. Their conflict dates back decades over disputed areas of land that have been in contention since the Soviet Union broke up. Since the summer of 2020, however, tensions have re-risen over a disputed land known as Nagorno Karabakh, or Artsakh. Since the conflict has arisen, there have been many developments between the two countries.
Although the conflict is technically over with a ceasefire and treaty, many Armenians do not feel as if it has been settled. After thousands have died and more have been injured, the fighting has officially ended with a peace treaty being proctored by Russia. The deal grants Azerbaijan to keep a hold over the lands in Nagorno Karabakh, which they have captured, and also requires Armenia to withdraw from other surrounding areas. Although the end of the conflict means more lives are spared from the war, Armenians are still furious over Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan accepting the peace treaty and seceding lands of Nagorno Karabakh to Azerbaijan. Armenians consider the land, which they call Artsakh, to be Armenian, since the area has been home to Armenians for thousands of years, approximately from the 7th century B.C. “It’s our history, our culture, our soul that we’re losing. Not to mention the useless sacrifice of thousands of our men, killed or injured.” Although many are happy that the death of their fathers, brothers, uncles, and friends has finally stopped, the relinquishing of a historically Armenian land cuts deep into the fiery spirit of the Armenians.
Concerns have been voiced over historic Armenian religious and cultural territory. “We are extremely worried because we have already seen the desecration and destruction of Khachkars (traditional Armenian stone steles) by the Azeris.’” With Azerbaijan now in control of lands whose inhabitants have deep-rooted Armenian history and Christian faith, this initially sparked massive disapproval and protests amongst Armenians. “The protesters who gathered here overnight accused the government of betrayal. They believed the fighting should have continued until the end and they were confident of victory”. However, despite their heartbreak, anger, and willingness to continue the fight, it appears that the fight is over for the Armenians.
Russia, an Armenian ally that also has a good relationship with Azerbaijan, proctored the agreement, which involves Russian troops being sent into Armenia. “Under the agreement, some 1,960 armed Russian service members and 90 armored vehicles will deploy for at least five years to guard the line of contact between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in the region and along the road connecting Armenian-controlled Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia.” With the loss of Artsakh/Karabakh, Armenians around the world feel as if, “‘The trauma of victimization has returned,’ said Richard Giragosian, director of the Regional Studies Center in Yerevan. “‘There’s a sense that the world and the West have abandoned us’”.
The war between Nagorno Karabakh/Artsakh has come to an end, and hopefully, unlike the many other ceasefires and talks of ceasefires, this time there will be peace. Azeris, along with Turki and Israelis, whose countries supported or supplied Azerbaijan with drones during the fight against Armenia, celebrate this treaty as a win for Azerbaijan. On the other hand, the Armenians are heartbroken and furious with the loss of their historic land, as well as the repeated loss of human life and destruction of their history. Sadly, this sorrowful loss has been a part of Armenian history as over the centuries, Armenians have been targeted for ethnic and religious cleansing by genocidal countries. Although there is now one less conflict in the world, the Armenians are still seeking justice for what they believe is their rightful land.
Anger Mounts in Armenia over Karabakh Peace Deal, www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/anger-mounts-in-armenia-over-karabakh-peace-deal/ar-BB1aUcfi?ocid=ientp.
“Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia Sign Nagorno-Karabakh Peace Deal.” BBC News, BBC, 10 Nov. 2020, www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-54882564.
Troianovski, Anton. “In Bitter Nagorno-Karabakh War, a Reordering of Regional Powers.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 10 Nov. 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/11/10/world/europe/armenia-azerbaijan-nagorno-karabakh.html.