Nagorno-Karabakh in history

Against the backdrop of a new war in Nagorno-Karabakh, in this episode we explore the region’s history through the lenses of political conflict as well as cultural interactions. Since 1994, Nagorno-Karabakh brokered an existence as an autonomous region, and the fortunes of its population were supposedly entrusted to international intermediaries, the so-called Minsk group. While the UN Security Council had ruled to restore the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, de facto throughout this period Nagorno-Karabakh was controlled by Armenia. In the autumn of 2020, Azerbaijan carried out a military operation, which resulted in the transfer of a large part of Nagorno-Karabakh, previously controlled by Armenia, to Azerbaijan. Now Armenian refugees have fled from here to Armenia or to Russia, while the Azerbaijani population expelled from Karabakh in the early 1990s is preparing to return. Among the ruins of towns and villages are both Armenian and Azerbaijani cultural monuments, some of which document a kind of coexistence that now seems unimaginable. Our guests speak about the region in relation to the Russian Civil War, Soviet culture of the 1960s, the role of the diasporas, and the impact of Soviet collapse on the Caucasus as a whole. The episode features music by composers and performers from the region.


Zaur Gasimov, Senior Research Fellow, Department of History, University of Bonn

Ronald G. Suny, William H. Sewell Jr. Distinguished University Professor of History and Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan.


Grikor Suni, Ov Dook Sarer (1997 recording, with Armena Marderosian, piano, and Henrik Mihranian, tenor, words by 19th c poet Ghazaros Aghayan)

Bülbül (Murtuza Mammadov), Sevgili canan (1975, Melodiya, words by 12th c poet Nizami)

Grikor Suni, Yete mi Oor (1997 recording, words by 19th c poet Hovhannes Toumanian)

Rashid Beibutov, Armenian folk song (Bulbul- Nightingale) (1971, Melodiya)

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