Poll Shows Universal Rejection of Karabagh’s Return to Azerbaijan

YEREVAN (ACNIS/RFE/RL)–An opinion poll publicized by the Yerevan-based think tank on Friday shows that less than only one percent of Armenia’s support Mountainous Karabagh’s return to Azeri rule as part of a possible peaceful settlement.

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) said nearly 60 percent of some 2,000 people around the country recently interviewed by its researchers want Karabagh to formally become a part of Armenia–while 39 percent of them would agree to its independence. The pollsters said only about a third of those surveyed are against the return of the Armenian-controlled territories in Azerbaijan proper under any circumstances–the others being ready to trade them for Karabagh’s independence or a lasting peace.

According to the poll–thirty percent of ordinary Armenia’s view Russia as the most trustworthy of international mediators and only three percent believe the United States tends to have a pro-Armenian stance on the issue.

This perception contrasts sharply with the findings of a separate poll conducted by the ACNIS among 50 political and public policy analysts. Eighteen percent of them said US interests in the region are good for a pro-Armenian solution to the Karabagh dispute. Only ten percent mentioned Russia in that regard.

The ACNIS survey confirms the strong Armenian opposition to any deal that would restore Baku’s control of Karabagh. It comes amid a fresh international push to end the conflict.

Since the raising of the Karabagh question (1988-2004)–82% of respondent experts consider the greatest achievement to be independence and sovereignty–8% guarantees of physical security–4% confidence in our own abilities–and 4% enhancement of territory. As for the public survey–49.7% think that the most important accomplishment is independence–6% guarantees of physical security–10% confidence in one’s own abilities–and 12.8% enhancement of territory. 54% of responding specialists see the status of Mountainous Karabagh as a part of Armenia–32% as an independent and sovereign republic–while 10% find it acceptable for Karabagh to be an autonomous part of Azerbaijan. Among the broader public–these figures are 59.7%–38.6%–and 1.1%–respectively.

All 50 professionals who took part in the focus poll are from Yerevan. 90% of them are male–and 10% female; 8% are 30 years of age or below–40% 31-40–42% 41-50–and 10% 50 or above. All of the experts surveyed have received higher education: 20% are candidates of science (PhD)–76% hold a Master’s degree–while 4% have earned solely a Bachelor’s degree. As for the 1,950 citizens polled–50% of them are male and 50% female; 30.5% are 30 years of age or below–45.2% 31-50–20.6% 51-70–3.7% 71 or above. 45.7% of the responding citizens have received higher education–whereas 11.2% incomplete higher–17.3% specialized secondary–21.6% secondary–and 2.4% incomplete secondary training. Urban residents constitute 60.7% of the citizens surveyed–and rural residents make up 39.3%. 34.3% are from Yerevan–and 65.7% from all of Armenia’s regions.

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