STEPANAKERT—On Thursday, Feb. 20, the President of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Bako Sahakian marked the 26th anniversary of the day in 1988 on which the Supreme Soviet of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast voted to unify Artsakh with Armenia.
In February of 1988, mass demonstrations demanding an end to Azeri oppression and massacres and calling for the reunification of Artsakh with Armenia accompanied the legislative body’s proclamation. The Azeri authorities responded with more violence against Armenians that eventually led to the massacres in the city of Sumgait.
“February 20 has entered the history of our nation as a day that symbolizes the freedom-loving spirit of the people of Artsakh and their steadfast will to live freely and independently on their native land, determining their own destiny themselves,” Sahakian said in a speech. “In response to that legitimate, peaceful and just demand Azerbaijan carried out massacres and deportations, plunging our newly-independent country into a bloody war.”
“Surviving incredible hardship and ordeals, suffering irrevocable losses, our nation was never disappointed and did not retreat. On the contrary, at the cost of its brave sons, due to the unity and heroism of its sisters and brothers dispersed throughout the world, it was able to defend the native land,” the President continued.
“The past years have proven that the chosen path was correct and irreversible. The Armenians of Artsakh continue to build a democratic state adherent to international norms and standards. They continue to make their villages and towns prosperous, build new roads and water lines, houses and hospitals, schools and kindergartens, steadily improving the nation’s living conditions,” President Sahakian concluded.