STEPANAKERT—The Republic of Artsakh celebrated the 23rd anniversary of its declaration of independence on Monday. A number of country-wide events in Artsakh and Armenia were held in celebration of the Sept. 2 anniversary.
In Artsakh, the first school lessons of the academic year were about Artsakh’s Independence Day, with many government leaders and war veterans participating in teaching schoolchildren about Artsakh and what it means to be courageous.
The opera “Ring of Fire” by Avet Terteryan was performed in Shushi. Concerts, sporting events, and folk festivals were also held throughout Artsakh. The day concluded with a fireworks show at Stepanakert’s Revival Square.
Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian participated in the events in Artsakh.
On September 2, 1991, a joint session of Artsakh’s local government and Shahumyan’s regional council declared independence for the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Artsakh’s sovereignty was confirmed in a referendum on December 10, 1991, when 99.89 percent of the population voted for independence.
Today the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is an accomplished state with modern attributes, democratic traditions, independent foreign policy, dynamic economic development, and a capable army supported by the people.
Artsakh’s President Bako Sahakian issued a statement on the day of the anniversary.
“September 2, 1991 was a turning point in the life of the Artsakh people and became the starting point in realizing our centuries-long dreams,” Sahakian said. “It marked the birth of the Artsakh Republic, which was the outcome of our people’s long struggle and strong will. We finally gained our right to live freely and independently in our land in accordance with universal human and national values, democratic norms, and international principles.”
“On that path we faced both severe challenges and gained great victories, which were attained at the cost of incredible losses and hardships, the blood shed by our hero sisters and brothers,” the President said.
Sahakian said that the failed attacks on Artsakh by Azerbaijani forces starting a month ago proved that the Artsakh Republic was strong and unconquerable; that Artsakh’s soldiers have defended their home and the whole of Armenia for 23 years and will continue to do so for generations to come.