During first days of Karabakh movement there was nothing about Artsakh Independence. Movses Gorgisyan, Paruyr Hayrikyan and several former soviet prisoners spoke about the Independence of Armenia. Karabakh appeared in the composition of Azerbaijan in 1921 by the decision of soviet politburo decision headed by Stalin.
Historians say that the aim of Stalin was to please Turkey so that it also became a communist country. Turkey gave no promise. Two years later Nagorno Karabakh autonomous region was formed.
The one third of Karabakh was freed from Armenians during 60 years. During different years a number of leaders of Soviet Armenia tried to return Nagorno Karabakh. The first one was Communist party first secretary Grigor Harutyunyan.
In 1966 the issue was raised by another Armenian leader Anton Kochinyan. Karabakh movement started under the rule of Karen Demirchyan. The first response of Azerbaijan was bloody. According to official data, 32 Armenians were killed in Sumgait. The movement wasn’t stopped.
Azerbaijan started to free Nagorno Karabakh from Armenians with the help of Russian armed forces. Still under the Soviet Union rule, on September 2 Karabakh declared its independence without referendum in the territory of Autonomous Region. No country recognized Karabakh independence officially. The UNO announced that Karabakh is a part of Azerbaijan.
In spite of this Karabakh independence referendum was held on December 10, only 554 from 77 thousands voters were against. Only after three years, first presidential elections were held in Karabakh. Robert Kocharyan, who was supported by Armenian authorities, won the elections. He was appointed Prime Minister of Armenia in 1997. Second presidential elections were held in Artsakh.
The office was taken by Foreign Minister Arkady Ghukasyan. Nagorno Karabakh self-defense forces head Serzh Sargsyan moved to Armenia still during the war. Today two former presidents of Nagorno Karabakh, former head of self-defense forces and former defense ministers live out of their created country. But the country exists, and no one of them is a refugee.
Nagorno Karabakh Republic is 23 years old.