The battle to liberate Shushi was not only a turning point in the Karabakh Liberation Movement but has been also considered as one of the most unique military operations of modern times. During this battle the Nagorno-Karabakh Self Defense Forces flawlessly enacted a plan that ousted Azerbaijanis from the city, from where they were incessantly and savagely bombing civilian targets in the capital of Stepanakert.
The liberation of Shushi on May 9, 1992 also paved the way for the heroic forces of Artsakh to liberate the strategically important region of Lachin, now known as Berdzor, creating the critically vital corridor between Artsakh and Armenia. It also hastened Artsakh’s victory in the war, which would last another two years until a cease-fire agreement was signed between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan and mediated by Russia and Armenia.
A quarter of a century later, Shushi continues to be the most vital part of the newly-renamed Artsakh Republic and is on its way to reclaim its historic standing as the cultural capital of Armenia with the country’s cultural ministry operating from the perched city, as well as a museum row that encompasses history, geology and art lining the hilltops of the city.
The decisive victory 25 years ago has fueled the drive and commitment of the Armenian Nation to continue to strengthen Artsakh and has emboldened the young men who are standing tall at the front-lines and protecting our borders, fully aware that they are risking their lives for the survival of our homeland.
The victory at Shushi, once again demonstrated the sheer resilience of the Armenian people and sent a clear message to the world that when threatened Armenians will rise up to protect what is rightfully theirs. The fact that the Artsakh Republic today is thriving despite constantly being threatened by Azerbaijan, is proof that the will of our Nation is indestructible. Azerbaijan attempted to challenge this unbreakable determination when in April 2016 its forces launched an aggressive and flagrant attack on all fronts of Artsakh and the instantaneous mobilization of all Armenians around the world caught them off guard. Despite their petro-dollar-financed heavy artillery and weapons, the Azerbaijani attempts were thwarted and their units were forced to retreat.
Today, a new generation of soldiers is protecting our borders. They are fortified by our past victories, but more important, the lessons from the intricate operation that was the Shushi Liberation, inform and guide them on the battlefield and the frontlines.
As we proudly celebrate the Liberation of Shushi, which cemented Artsakh’s victory in the war, let’s bow our heads to all those who have given their lives in Artsakh and pledge to continue to assist in Artsakh’s victory by, first and foremost, supporting our soldiers and devoting our energies in developing our historic Artsakh.
Editor’s Note: On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Shushi’s Liberation, throughout the month of May, Asbarez will publish features and articles that highlight Artsakh’s development and address issues that continue to challenge its residents. These will include a series written by Asbarez English Editor Ara Khachatourian who visited Artsakh last month.