Address by Serzh Sargsyan on the occasion of Artsakh Revival Day and the 35th anniversary of the Karabakh movement
The Karabakh movement became the beginning of Artsakh’s revival and prevented the extinction of a part of the Armenian nation which has been living in its cradle for ages. Thirty-five years ago by the demand of the Armenian population of the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous region (NKAO) the issue of removing the region from the jurisdiction of the Azerbaijani Soviet Republic and placing it under the jurisdiction of the Armenian Soviet Republic was put on the agenda. The demand of the Armenians of Artsakh was legal and justified. On February 20 of 1988, the delegates of a special session of the 20th Convention of the NKAO Soviet Council adopted a decision which sealed the will of the people of Artsakh to fulfill their right of self-determination. It was a momentous event in the history of the Armenian people and its historical and political significance is undeniable.
Many sons of our nation in Artsakh, Mother Armenia, and Spyurq, who viewed the defense of Fatherland as their greatest mission, united to achieve the national goal and were victorious in their endeavor. The Karabakh movement turned into a national awakening and one of the pivotal episodes of our history.
The Karabakh movement and the 1994 glorious victory of our national liberation struggle manifested first and foremost the dignity of the Armenian people and our resolve to defend our right to live on our own land free, independent, and secure.
To a peaceful and legitimate demand of our people Azerbaijan responded with ethnic cleansing in Sumgait, Baku, other towns with a dense Armenian population as well as in some areas of Northern Artsakh. Armenians were subjected to the most devious barbarities, massacres, and expulsions. The same fate awaited the Armenians of Artsakh, but we won in the war imposed on us.
The aggressor - Azerbaijan, in war, which it unleashed against us, received a heavy blow of the united Armenian fist, and begged for a ceasefire.
Glory to all the brave men who created that victory! We bow our heads to the memory of all our heroes who gave their lives for Fatherland.
Unfortunately, Azerbaijan did not come to terms with the heavy defeat it suffered in 1994, or that in 2016 April Four-Day War. It used the opportunity and took advantage of the state ruining policies of the anti-national forces, which usurped power with the support from abroad, and unleashed a new war in 2020, which ended with the signing of a capitulation paper on November 9.
In recent years, the achievements of the Karabakh movement were greatly wasted, a considerable part of the territories liberated during the first, victorious Artsakh war were handed to the enemy, nearly five thousand young men perished, many became disabled, tens of them are still in captivity, the very future of Artsakh and the Republic of Armenia is in peril, the enemy has unobstructedly occupied territories in Armenia’s border areas. The national revival turned into national disappointment, for some it even turned into despair.
Armenia’s ruling authority continues to persistently depreciate the just struggle of the Armenian people, deliberately compromises the victorious heroes and continues to weaken the Armenian Army, undermines national unity, adding its voice to the enemy’s and through the false peace slogans diminishes within the country the awareness for resisting possible outside threats.
This jubilee of the Karabakh movement presents yet another opportunity to awaken our languid national self-consciousness as a shield against the present challenges and new impeding threats. Thirty-five years ago that very self-consciousness became potent force in the seemingly desperate and impossible situations, and we won because of our national unity. None of us, who is a part of our nation, has a right to despair, retreat in the face of hardship, or move away from the struggle, just as Artsakh, which is adamant in its determination to live free and independent on its own land, is surviving today under blockade and hardship.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Artsakh,
Thirty-five years ago the Lachin corridor was closed just as today. But with your staunch will and courage, together with the support of the entire Armenian nation, it was opened. I have no doubt it will happen again because today too, Artsakh’s struggle has become the struggle for Armenian dignity, which we, just as before, have to defend together. This is a struggle for the Armenian statehood, for our existence, for our identity, this is a life and death fight which we are destined to win.
God bless our Fatherland!
Source: ՀՀ 3-րդ նախագահի գրասենյակ
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