Nagorno Karabakh Republic (Republic of Artsakh) was formed as a state, during the collapse of the USSR, on the basis of Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Region (NKAR) and the Shahoumyan Region, as a part of the USSR was populated by Armenians .
The Independence of the Republic of Karabakh was declared on September 2, 1991, in accordance with the international rights' fundamental norms. Since that day the authorities of the Republic have pursued a policy of maintaining peace and stability in the South Caucasus region.
Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) has been situated in the north-east of the Armenian Plateau since the ancient times. It has been one of the provinces of historical Armenia. According to all the ancient sources, the river of Kura was the north - eastern border of historical Armenia. The nature and climate of the mountainous region are conditioned by its favourable geographical location. Artsakh is mentoined as Urtekhe-Urtekhini in the ancient Armenian state - Urartu (VIIIth - Vth centuries BC). The ancient state was inhabited by the multilingual Caucasian tribes. Armenia bordered on with the neighboring Albania (Aluank). The borders passed through the river Kura. It was mentioned in the works of Strabon, Pliny the Elder, Claudius of Ptolemy, Plutarch, Dion Cassius and other authors.
The territory of Eastern Transcaucasia passed to Persia, including Karabakh, аfter the partition of Armenia between Byzantium and Persia (387 CE). However, it didn’t influenced on ethnic structure of the region – beginning from the right bank of the Kura and including Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), the territory continued to remain populated by Armenians.The nomadic Turkic tribes began to penetrate into the northern regions of Karabakh only in the middle of the XVIIIth century CE. That served as the beginning for (became the result of) long-term wars with Armenian princedoms.Melicdoms (princedoms) of Karabakh ruled by crown appanage princes, or melics, managed to reserve the actual sovereignty as well as their own armed forces and the princes' armed forces. The melicdoms fought back to invasions of nomadic tribes and detachments of numerous hostile khans, as well as the the powerful Ottoman Empire forces’ invasions over hundreds of years. Over and over, princes of Karabakh fought for freedom from authorities of various creeds. Artsakhianmelics carried on correspondence and relationships with Russian tsars and emperors from the XVIIth century onward. Among them Peter I, Catherine II and Pavel I.
The territory of historical Artsakh was formally named Karabakhian Khanate in 1805. At the same time vast regions of Eastern Transcaucasia were annexed to "everlasting rule" by the Russian Empire, which was formalized by Gyulistan (1813) and Turkmenchie (1828) treaties between Russia and Persia.
Thus began the period of peace that lasted until 1917.
After the collapse of the Russian Empire and formation of the independent Republic of Armenia and Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan in 1918-1920 Karabakh was self-governed by the Armenian National Council and was recognized by the League of Nations as a "disputable territory". At the time Artsakh considered itself as a part of the independent Republic of Armenia. However, Azerbaijan, supported by British forces, undertook several feeble attempts to secure Artsakh within its power.
The establishment of Soviet power in Transcaucasia was accompanied by the establishment of new political orders. When Azerbaijan was declared a Soviet territory in 1920 Russian troops, according to a treaty between Soviet Russia and the Republic of Armenia, temporarily occupied Artsakh until a peaceful solution could be made.
However, immediately after establishment of Soviet power in Armenia, the revolutionary committee of Azerbaijan known as Revcom and the main authority of the Bolsheviks at the time, declared the "disputable territories" of Nagorno-Karabakh, Zangezour and Nakhichevan as integral parts of Armenia. This meant that they waived Azerbaijani claims to Karabakh, Zangezur and Nakhichevan, and stated that the territories were not parts of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Armenia declared NagornoKaranakh (Artsakh) as an integral part of its territory on the basis of Soviet Azerbaijani waiver of claims to “disputable territories”, and on the basis of agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan in June 1921.
Soon, however, the Bolshevik leaders of Russia, in the scope of support to the “world communist revolution”, changed their position to ethnically kindred Azerbaijan and to the problem of “disputable territories”, including Karabakh.
A plenary session of the Caucasian Bureau of CPR ignored the resolution of League of Nations and rejected the plebiscite as a democratic mechanism of establishing borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1921. Under immediate pressure of Stalin and despite the completed act of cession, the Caucasian Bureau of CPR, in violation of accepted procedures, made a decision to seize Artsakh from Armenia, passing the national autonomy and rights over the territory to Azerbaijani SSR.
Moreover, Artsakh was split into pieces. One part of it was autonomously formed, but the rest was dissolved into administrative regions of Soviet Azerbaijan, effectively liquidating physical and geographical connections between Armenian ethnic autonomy and the Republic of Armenia. Thus, the vast majority of the territory recognized by the League of Nations as disputable was openly annexed, and most of Karabakh (Gyulistan, Karvatchar, Karakhat (Dashkesan), Lachin, Shamkhor and others) remained outside the autonomous borders.
Angered and dissatisfied by such a state of affairs, the population of Karabakh repeatedly tried to draw the attention of soviet government to the necessity of correcting this mistake and including Karabakh in the composition of Armenian SSR.
In the mid-1980s another wave of demands was raised to restore historical justice. In 1991, that resulted in the Declaration of State Independence of the Karabakh Republic by the Parliament of the Republic of Mountainous Kharabakh. The declaration of RMK Independence was confirmed by results of a national referendum held on December 10, 1991.
In reply Azerbaijan unleashed a full-scale war. The Karabakh army repulsed an aggression and expanded its territory to create a security belt, also called “liberated territories” of the historical Armenian lands that surround Karabakh.
In May 1994 Karabakh and Azerbaijan signed the armistice agreement that confirmed the actual borders of the Republic of Karabakh.
The armistice agreement continues acting until today.