Nagorno-Karabakh, a stretch of forested, low mountains and valleys within Azerbaijan, became an international conflict in 1992. That year’s collapse of the Soviet Union escalated warfare in which Nagorno-Karabakh’s majority Armenian population sought to unite the territory with Armenia. Fighting from 1988 to 1994 killed tens of thousands of people. Armenians took control of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding Azerbaijani farming districts, expelling hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis from their ancestral homes. Following a 1994 truce, peace efforts by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe and the United States failed to usher Armenia and Azerbaijan to a resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh and related disputes. Over the next 26 years, Azerbaijan used its ample oil and gas revenues to build up its armed forces. Armed with game-changing aerial drones from its ally, Turkey, Azerbaijan launched an offensive in 2020 that reversed the military advantage in the conflict, seizing the Armenian-occupied districts around Nagorno-Karabakh. This time, tens of thousands of Armenians were displaced. - USIP United States Institute of Peace

Learning Resources


Ethnicity and Social Identity

Outside Influence

Economic Factors

This section focuses on the trade routes through the region that are valuable to Russia and other outside forces.

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Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment