Karabakh Armenians mark 25th anniversary of liberation movement

A rally dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the start of the national-liberation movement in Karabakh was held in Revival Square in Stepanakert on Wednesday.

Speaking at the rally, Karabakh President Bako Sahakyan described the holding of such an event as a significant phenomenon both from the political and moral-psychological points of view.

Primate of the Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan, Karabakh government members, veterans of the movement and thousands of ordinary citizens took part in the rally.

On February 13, 1988, Armenians in Karabakh, then an autonomous oblast in the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic, began demonstrating in their capital, Stepanakert, in favor of unification with then Soviet Armenia. Six days later they were joined by mass marches in the Armenian capital of Yerevan, with the Soviet of People’s Deputies in Karabakh voting overwhelmingly on February 20 to request the transfer of the region to Armenia.

Nationalists in Azerbaijan responded with pogroms in Sumgait and further ethnic reprisals against hundreds of thousands of Armenians living in Baku and other cities and towns across the country. The collapse of the USSR in late 1991 triggered a war over the enclave that ended in 1994 with Karabakh Armenians gaining de-facto independence from Azerbaijan.