Sahakian will speak about the current situation in the South Caucasus in a talk titled, “Turmoil in the Caucasus: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia- Post Soviet Union – A Nations’ Right for Self Determination.”
From 1988 to the cease fire in 1994, the fiercely independent people of the autonomous region of Nagorno Karabakh fought a political and military war of liberation from Azerbaijan. This liberation movement paralleled the rapid disintegration of the once formidable Soviet empire.
The indigenous Armenian population of this region had become the unfortunate victims of the shrewd geopolitical machinations of Soviet Dictator Josef Stalin when he deliberately carved out the nations in the Caucasus area without regard to historical, geographical and ethnic boundaries that divided this vast mountainous territory between the Black and Caspian seas.
This historic Armenian region was arbitrarily made an autonomous region within Azerbaijan despite having an over 90% ethnic Armenian population. The ensuing war for independence resulted in thousands of lives lost in vicious fighting, pogroms against ethnic Armenians living in Baku and other regions of Azerbaijan, and the expulsion of the small Azeri population of this region. With its military victory a new Republic of Artsakh-Nagorno Karabakh was declared in 1994.
But tensions remain high, Azeri threats of a new war are heard and the critical Ceyhan oil pipeline to Turkey lies just north of this flash point. The US in partnership with European and Russian help are seeking a peaceful resolution which balances a nation’s right for self determination yet also recognizes the territorial integrity of nation-states.
Can peace prevail or will a new war erupt threatening the peace and security of this important region? Will Russia,Turkey or Armenia intervene in the event of a new war? What will the US and its European allies do to keep the oil pipe line open? Come and listen to the elected President of Nagorno-Karabakh address these and other critical issues.
President Bako Sahakian became one of the activists of the Artsakh national liberation movement in 1988. In 1990 he joined Nagorno Karabakh self-defense forces and saw front line action.
In 1992 he became deputy commander of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Committee of Defense Forces. He served as Nagorno Karabakh Republic Defense Army’s Rear Staff Commander and became deputy to the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Defense Army’s Commander on foreign relations. In 1996 he was appointed deputy commander of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Defense Army’s 10th highland infantry division. Then in 1999 Sahakian was selected to serve as Interior minister of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic
In 2001 he became the head of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic National Security Service. He has the military rank of major-general. In 2007 he was democratically elected as President of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. Sahakian has been awarded with many orders and medals, including, “Battle Cross” of 1st degree (NKR), “Peter the Great” of 1st degree (Russian Federation) orders, “For Service to Fatherland” of 1st degree and “Vazgen Sargsyan” medals (Republic of Armenia). He is a full member of the Russian Federation Academy of Security, Defense and Legality and graduated with a law degree from Artsakh State University.
He is married and has two children
A 6 p.m. reception will follow dinner at 7 p.m. and the presentation at 7:45. Admission is $60 for members and $75 non-members. Reservations may be made at worldaffairscouncil.org. The Pacific Club is located at 4110 MacArthur Boulevard
Newport Beach, California 92660