The Independent Republic: the Revival of a Nation

This site reflects the situation as of August, 2023, when launched. 

After a nine-month comprehensive blockade of Artsakh and an incessant campaign of intimidation by Azerbaijan, on September 19, 2023 Azerbaijan’s armed forces launched an assault on Artsakh from all sides and employed the entire military arsenal at their disposal. 

Exhausted from a long siege and deprived of any external assistance, Artsakh fell.

Over a hundred thousand-strong ethnic Armenian population, still inhabiting on their ancestral lands after around fifty thousand had left earlier as a consequence of a bloody war in 2020, had to flee in a few days. They left behind their homes and offices, government and commercial buildings, graveyards, places of worship, monuments and all belongings. 

Since the beginning of October 2023, for the first time in millennia-old history, no Armenians live in the Armenian land of Artsakh.

The Independent Republic: the Revival of a Nation

The flag of the Republic of Artsakh

The coat-of-arms of the Republic of Artsakh

Although the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh is not internationally recognized, it represents a unique case of adhering to democratic and rule of law procedures from the moment of its establishment to the present day. Under the Soviet rule Karabakh was subjected to severe pressure from the central Soviet authorities in Moscow, and regional “bosses” in Baku especially during the last years of Soviet power. They endured special rule to blockade to deportations and killings, however the people and authorities of Artsakh (Mountainous or Nagorno Karabakh) chose a path of peaceful means and decided their fate through legitimate resolutions of the then existing bodies of power, the Soviets. Elections took place and its own bodies of power were democratically elected following a vote for independence at a nation-wide referendum held under incessant bombardment and attacks. Since gaining its independence, Nagorno Karabakh has held regular elections of its National Assembly (Parliament), President and Bodies of Self-Government. After the first war the Government was faced with an impossible array of challenges: an economy disrupted by war, a severely damaged infrastructure, the need to maintain a substantially sized army in comparison to its population, and partially destroyed towns and villages. However, the democratic exercise of the people’s rights was never neglected. Observer missions from various countries testified to free and fair elections every time the people went to the ballot box. Even these facts demonstrate why any attempt to put Karabakh under Azerbaijani control is doomed and a wrong direction of thought. 

Unfortunately, the 2020 Azeri-Turkish aggression and the following occupation of large swathes of land of the Republic have created new challenges for its statehood. Nevertheless, the state structures of the country function and life goes on despite difficulties and uncertainties.


The Referendum on Independence

On December 10, 1991 a referendum on independence was held in the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, and the question on the ballot was: “Do you agree for the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh to be an independent state, independently determining the forms of cooperation with other states and communities?” The total number of registered voters was 132.328 of which 108.736 individuals participated, amounting to 82.2 per cent of the total number of registered voters. 

108.615 individuals or 99.9 per cent of the total number of voters answered “Yes” and only 24 individuals or 0.002 per cent answered “No”.

The referendum was monitored by a number of independent observers, who were present at all the 30 polling stations of the Republic, and concluded that the referendum was conducted according to the laws in force and reflected the decision of the population of NK.

Karabakh is an independent republic where the power belongs to the people and is based on the separation of legislative, executive and judicial branches.


The Constitution 

The Republic of Nagorno Karabakh adopted its Constitution on December 10, 2006, through a national referendum, which as testified by international observers, met “the standards of the OSCE, Council of Europe and other international structures in terms of democratic elections, equally used for the referenda as well”. 87 per cent of the registered voters participated, and the absolute majority voted for the Main Law of the Land. 

The Constitution proclaims the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh as a sovereign, democratic state based on social justice and the rule of law, and stipulates a division and balance of three branches of power, a separation of power between the state and self-government, and provides the foundations for an Office of the Ombudsman. The Constitution guarantees the protection of the rights and freedoms of the individual and the citizen. 

The second, amended Constitution of the Republic of Artsakh was adopted at a National Referendum held on February 20, 2017. Of the eligible 103 818 voters, 79.428 people or 76.5 % partook in the Referendum, with 69 570 voters or 87,6 % of the participants voting for the acceptance of the Main Law.

The amended constitution (2017) states that the names "Republic of Artsakh" and "Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh" are synonymous. It has converted the system of the country’s governance from a semi-presidential to fully-presidential system. Artsakh does no longer have a Prime Minister (a State Minister partially replacing him) and the President appoints government ministers.


Territorial-Administrative Division 

Administratively, the NKR is composed of seven regions and the capital city of Stepanakert. There are 10 towns and 322 villages in the Republic. The population of Stepanakert is over 58 thousand people (2019) while that of the whole country is over 148 thousand (2019). Of these over 74 thousand (52,5%) live in urban areas and over 67 thousand (47.5%), in rural areas. Male-female ratio is population 48,1% to 51,9 %․

Regions of the Republic to the regional center /km/


Distance from the capital






NKR total

141 400

145 053

148 800


Stepanakert city

52 310


58. 3



17 732





12 373





19 636





23 435





3 000





5 126





7 788

11 400

11. 7