In the ancient times, the territory of present-day Karabakh was a part of the Albanian state, which existed within the boundaries of the present-day Republic of Azerbaijan (and the southern part of Dagestan) between late 4th century BC and early 8th century AD.

Karabakh was colonized and Gregorianized already after the Albanian state fell early in the 8th century AD, when Arab invaders of the South Caucasus agreed to subject the autocephalous Albanian church to its Armenian counterpart. That event marked the onset of Gregorianization for the Albanian population of Karabakh.

Karabakh's Albanians were Armenicized much later, in the early 12th century [1]. Consequently, one may suggest that a certain part of Armenian-speaking population of Karabakh (save those resettled from Iran and Turkey in the 19th century) represents Armenicized descendants of ancient Albanians.

As the Arab Caliphate declined in the mid-9th century, Grigor Hamam, a representative of Albanian clan, restored the Caliphate-disbanded Albanian kingdom, which also incorporated some lands on the mountainous part of Karabakh [2]. Late in the 12th century, the Principality of Khachen was established on this territory. It enjoyed the time of Renaissance during the reign of Hasan-Jalal (1215-1261). Armenian, Georgian, and Persian sources branded him "the king of Albania" and "the mighty ruler of Albania's borderlands" [3].

Following the Mongol invasion, Karabakh was a part of Azerbaijani states of Qara Qoyunlu (1410-1468) and Aq Qoyunlu (1468-1501). During the reign of Jahan Shah Qara Qoyunlu, Hasan-Jalal's clan was granted the title of melik (owners of mulk).

Later on, these lands were incorporated in the Azerbaijani state of Safavids (1501-1736). During Safavid rule, the territory of Karabakh was a part of the Ganja-Karabakh Province (berglarbegdom). That time saw the lands of Hasan-Jalal's clan divided to five principalities (melikdoms): Gulustan, Chileberd, Khachen, Varanda, and Dizak, all with predominantly Christian population.

Forging historical facts, modern Armenian historians present these five melikdoms as "the legacy of Armenian statehood", although in reality they were not independent but rather subject to Ganja-Karabakh beglarbegs. It is worth pointing out here that, according to statistics, the overwhelming majority of this berglarbegdom's population, including the immediate territory of Karabakh, was of Muslim (Azerbaijani) persuasion.

For instance, the 1725-1727 census showed that 11,818 taxpayers out of 19,395 taxable population were Muslims (including 11,068 Azerbaijani Turks), while only 7,577 represented non-Muslims (Armenians among them) [4].

Having put an end to the Safavid state, Nader Shah Afshar (r. 1736-1747), striving to weaken Ganja-Karabakh beglarbegs, removed the meliks from subjection to the province. The meliks used this opportunity and launched separatist activities, confronted by the founder of the Karabakh Khanate, Panah Ali Khan.

Russian rule in the South Caucasus: Onset of Large-Scale Resettlement
To reinforce their positions, some meliks replied on the Russian Empire, which was securing its foothold in the region, and worked to foster the overrun of the Karabakh Khanate. In 1805, Ibrahim Khalil Khan and the Russian Empire signed the Treaty of Kurakchay without mentioning meliks or Armenians in the text thereof. Under the treaty, the Russian Empire assumed protectorate over the Karabakh Khanate as an Azerbaijani state [5].

The khanate was abolished in 1822 and the Karabakh Province established in its place. The Russian government afterwards decided to carry out the province-wide population census in order to identify taxable population and normalize the taxation process.
The 1823 census found out that, just as before, the indigenous people of Karabakh (that is, Azerbaijanis) still constituted the population majority in spite of the fact that thousands of Azerbaijani nationals had left their home and fled across Araz during the Russo-Persian wars of 1804-1813 and 1826-1828.

The census showed that the respective percentages of Azerbaijanis and Armenians in the Karabakh Province was 91 and 8.4%.[6]

After Russia and Persia signed in 1828 the Treaty of Turkmenchay, the resettlement of Armenians from Persia to Azerbaijan commenced. Although they were chiefly resettled to the lands of the former khanates of Irevan and Nakhchivan, the realm of Karabakh also became their destination.
In May 1828, first 147 Armenian families arrived in Karabakh from Persia [7]. 7,458 Armenian families had been resettled as of mid-June 1828, of which 3,900 were settled in the former Irevan Khanate, 2,363 in the former Nakhchivan Khanate, and 535 in the Karabakh Province [8].

As Armenians resettled to Karabakh, new Armenian villages were founded: Maraghaly (from the town of Maragha they came from), Janyatag etc. Interestingly, a monument was erected in 1978 in the former Mardakert District of NKAO (now Agdere District of the Republic of Azerbaijan) in honor of the 150th anniversary of Armenians' resettlement to Karabakh. It bore the inscription in Armenian language "Maragha-150"; it was erased in 1988, when Armenian separatism rose in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The resettlement of Armenians to Karabakh influenced the increase of their population in the region. It is evidenced by the tax census that was carried out in the town of Shusha and 741 villages of Karabakh Province in 1832. Reported throughout the province were 20,546 families (including 54,841 males); 1,698 families (including 5,079 males) were reported in the town of Shusha. The ethnic count provided the following picture [9]:

The 1832 tax census showed that Azerbaijani nationals were a majority in both the province (68%) and the town of Shusha (55%), all despite the active resettlement of Armenians to Karabakh region.

As a result of such resettlement policy, researchers point out, the respective percentages of Azerbaijani and Armenian populations dropped to 64.8% and increased to 34.8% by early 1830s. [10] While back in 1830s Azerbaijanis made up over a half of Shusha's population [11], their percentage dropped to 48.6% by the mid-19th century [12].

After Yelizavetpol Governorate was established in 1868, Karabakh region was integrated into it. The town of Shusha alongside Jabrayil, Jevanshir, Zangezur, and Shusha uyezds represented the historical Karabakh territory; the next census was carried out in 1886, providing the complete picture of Azerbaijani-Armenian population ratio [13]:
The Russian Imperial Census was carried out in 1897, with the following outcomes for Karabakh [14]:
The growth of Armenian population by the end of the 19th century in some localities (town of Shusha and uyezds of Shusha and Zangezur) can be clearly seen in stats, "justifying" Armenian historians' claims to dominant Armenian ethic element in Karabakh. They, however, pass over the simple fact that Armenians had never become an overwhelming majority in the population of the region. They also skip another fact: that Armenian community grew mainly because of natural increase and the resettlement policy led by the Russian government, so it cannot justify any statements concerning continuous domination of Armenians in Karabakh.

Interpreting geographical and statistical data at their convenience, Armenian authors isolate the mountainous part of Karabakh from the rest of the region and, playing with numbers, attempt to prove that Armenians outnumbered Azerbaijanis.

Yet history provides an irrefutable proof of "Nagorno-Karabakh" having never existed in the ancient times, in the medieval period, or in the modern times.

Karabakh has always been viewed as an indivisible entity from the geographical, administrative, and political standpoint, and it always has been a part of Azerbaijan.

If we refer to Caucasian Calendar published on 1 January 1916 (the last year before the dissolution of the Russian Empire) [15], we can see the ethnic composition of Karabakh would not sustain any quality changes.
It is clearly seen that Azerbaijanis still made the top of the list among the region's communities. The Azerbaijani population also kept growing in both the town of Shusha and Shusha Uyezd, a process that commenced in the late 19th century.

Although Muslim (Azerbaijani) population of Karabakh suffered heavily from the massacre committed by Armenian Dashnaks in 1905-1906, the latter would not succeed in driving the entire Azerbaijani community away from Karabakh.

The State Archive of the Republic of Azerbaijan has the late 1919 report by Alexander Shchepotyev, Head of Information Section under the ADR Ministry of Foreign Affairs, titled "Disputed Caucasian Territories To Which Independent Azerbaijani Turks Are Entitled".

Shchepotyev pointed out that statistical data on Armenian population of Karabakh, stated in the Caucasian Calendar as of 1 January 1916, should be taken with a pinch of salt as "the reported numbers of Karabakh Armenians are inflated, including many Armenian craftsmen and workers (up to 30,000 in Baku alone), who are scattered between here and Rostov and in reality do not constitute the sedentary population of Karabakh."
According to him, the actual number of Armenians and Muslims (Azerbaijanis) in Karabakh after the collapse of the Russian empire was 170,000 and 415,000, respectively.
Armenian community in Karabakh represented an undisputed minority, even more so, a minority concentrated in a narrow and intermittent piedmont belt surrounded by solid Turkic (Azerbaijani) population [16].

According to the documents from the Imperial Ministry of Interior's Police Department, Dashnaks partially accomplished their objective during the 1905 events: they spread discord between Armenians and Muslims (Azerbaijanis) of the South Caucasus and cleared lands to accommodate Armenian settlers from the Ottoman Empire and Iran. According to the source, "Armenians accomplished this objective in the governorates of Yelizavetpol and Erivan and in Kars Province as Muslim (Azerbaijani) families fled these territories" [17].

The first blood was spilled in February 1905, with the conflict spreading to other regions of the South Caucasus with mixed Armenian-Azerbaijani population. One of such regions was Karabakh, which was a part of Yelizavetpol Governorate since 1868.

Massacres of Azerbaijanis in Karabakh (1905-1906): Onset of Aggression
The first Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict in the history of Karabakh broke out in August 1905 in Shusha Uyezd (Yelizavetpol Governorate). That the clashes started here was not by chance; An ancient Azerbaijani town and former capital of the Karabakh Khanate, Shusha had been subjected to the Russian government-led resettlement policy and therefore turned into a place of residence for a large Armenian community. Early in the 20th century, Shusha became one of primary targets for Armenian national extremism.

Yelizavetpol Governor wrote in 1903 that it was in Shusha where "Armenian revolutionaries' propaganda has rooted so deeply that it becomes an increasingly critical task for the government to suppress their criminal activities." [18]

Gendarmerie reports of 1904 plainly branded Shusha "the location of Armenians' central committee" [19].

On 16 through 20 August 1905, Armenians killed up to 300 Azerbaijanis in Shusha. All archive documents give a clear evidence of Azerbaijanis being the affected party in Shusha. [20]

V.N. Baranovsky, Yelizavetpol Vice-Governor, sent on 26 August 1905 a memo to the Governor, providing his assessment of Shusha massacre and overall situation in the governorate. He wrote that the bloodshed stemmed from old hostilities between Armenians and Azerbaijanis, but mass disturbances had never happened until Armenians set up committees, showed some greater strength, and eventually made people think they could stand up to Azerbaijanis.

"Armenians have achieved a great success over the last years, and, unable to stop at that, fell into arrogance; led by hotheads, they have really gone too far this time." In his opinion, the only way to suppress civil discords in the region should be relentless prosecution of Armenian committeemen the both nations would be happy to get rid of. Unless the government made a motion, Armenian population itself would turn to mob punishment, as it believed the very existence of such committees to be destructive [21].
It was namely in Shusha where Armenians started assaulting and murdering Azerbaijanis, trying to reduce their numbers as much as possible and expel them from the lands they had inhabited for centuries. That could be the only reason for continuous attacks on the Azerbaijani part of the town combined with blocking main roads and sieging Azerbaijani settlements. Avoiding direct assaults on Azerbaijani villages, Armenians resorted to isolating the Azerbaijani population in Shusha.

Dashnak militants closed the road between Agdam and Shusha near Askeran. One of the longest blockages of Shusha, it commenced in August 1905 and continued into 1906. Communications with the town severed, the population could face famine and total extermination.

Closing the main road from Askeran fortress and all cart roads between Agdam and Shusha resulted in the town dwellers alongside Muslim (Azerbaijani) population of Shusha, Jabrayil, and Zangezur uyezds being denied the opportunity to procure food and living essentials [22].

Zangezur Uyezd was one of the areas in Yelizavetpol Governorate where Dashnaks intended to create "a one-piece land for Armenian nation" by terrorizing Azerbaijanis. During the second half of 1905, Armenians committed localized attacks on Azerbaijanis, robbed them and shoot at the roads. They razed several villages and murdered, wounded or took hostage their dwellers [23]. On 26 and 27 September 1905, Armenian militants attacked 10 Azerbaijani villages in Zangezur and burned them to ash. Some villagers fled for their life and hid in the woods [24].

The Zangezur massacre acquired unprecedented scale in summer 1906; According to archive sources, Armenian militants slaughtered many Muslim (Azerbaijanis) civilians in Zangezur Uyezd on 2-24 August, wiping out the following villages: Shabadin, Okhchu, Atkiz, Pirdavdan, Karkhana, Katar, Khalaj, Injevar, Chullu, Zurul, Farajan, Emazli, Guman, Kollu, Sanalu, Metnazar, Kalaboyni, Megrulu, Mollanu, Tanzavar, Agvanlu, Khashtan, Firidunbeg Kishlagi [25].

Armenian atrocities in Zangezur are evidenced by recollections of Russian commissioned officer V.Vadin, which were published in 1907.

Written after his visit to Karabakh, they are dripping with sympathy for Armenians and disdain for Azerbaijanis. These recollections, nevertheless, contain an interesting episode the author fills with an obvious admiration of Dashnaks, or, as he brands them, "saviors of Armenian nation". Vadin had a guide, a Dashnak named Sako, who confessed to the former that he had burned 12 villages in Zangezur, murdering and tormenting the local Azerbaijani population. Branding them "subhumans", the cutthroat said about Muslims he loathed: "robbery is viewed as heroism, bloody vengeance a debt, and science and education only a name." [26]

The Zangezur massacre was one of the greatest tragedies in the history of 1905-1906 Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. Despite the lack of accurate statistics and scarce accounts, the available sources still provide a sufficiently clear picture of scales of terror Armenians committed against the Azerbaijani population of Zangezur Uyezd in 1906.

The late 1905 and early 1906 saw bloody skirmishes ongoing in Jevanshir Uyezd. This region had a special importance for Dashnaks, as after the August 1905 Shusha massacre their militant organization's center was deployed in its mountainous Armenian villages. It stockpiled weapons and ammo and accommodated armed Armenian workers from Baku, who were arriving in big groups via Yelizavetpol, bypassing the direct road to Jevanshir Uyezd through Yevlakh.

Dashnak groups rampaging in in Jevanshir Uyezd were reporting to Amazasp Servastyan. According to Captain N.M. Fleginsky, Chief of Uyezd Police Department, stationed in Uyezd's Armenian villages and across the entire Karabakh were groups of well-armed and trained foot and horse-mounted militants, who "can arrive in designated locations at the whistle of their leader, the notorious Amazasp. Horse-mounted mobs patrol the area, setting up pickets in vicinity of Tatar (Azerbaijani) villages."[27] Large-scale clashes commenced when Servastyan-led detachment assaulted Damirlar village and set it on fire. In response, Azerbaijanis razed Armenian villages of Chayly, Upper Chayly, and Lower Seysulan [28].

The Karabakh events, inter alia, resulted in Armenians taking over the lands abandoned by Azerbaijani people. That was one of Dashnak's primary objectives they sought to accomplish at the time of 1905-1906 interethnic conflict: to spread discord between Armenians and Muslims of the South Caucasus and clear lands to accommodate Armenian settlers from the Ottoman Empire and Iran. In October 1906, in particular, some 30 Armenian families moved from Garar village of Zangezur Uyezd to Muslim (Azerbaijani) lands in Umutlu village (Jeanshir Uyezd) and, settling in, started ploughing and over agricultural activities. Another group of Armenian families from Garar (some 100 households) also moved to Umutlu and settled there [29].

The first months of 1906 saw a new round of bloodshed in Shusha Uyezd. The most complete account of the dire situation Azerbaijan was facing under siege is provided by the cable sent by Shusha dweller A. Vazirov to the editorial boards of Kaspi and Hayat:

"Shusha's Muslims (Azerbaijanis) are in a terrible situation; it has been a month and a half since Armenian bandits severed all lines of communication. The delivery of important supplies has been suspended, and one can obtain dough, sugar, and other essentials only by mail. Famine is everywhere. There have been several deaths as a result... Armenian militants vandalize the entire uyezd. A gang set on fire several houses in Malybeklu village; they also attacked a headquarters in Khankendi and stabbed to death local Muslim (Azerbaijani) children and women, with Cossacks watching; it then set on fire Najaf Gulu agha's and Doctor Mehmandarov's manors. The town is cut off Muslim (Azerbaijan) centers. Despite all the complaints and telegrams to General Governor and Viceroy, there is still no outcome in favor of Muslims (Azerbaijanis). Armenians are acting boldly in the town, frequently firing at Tatar (Azerbaijani) quarters without any cause." [30]

O. Apresyan, a native of Karabakh who evidenced the Shusha massacre, admitted that Armenians had decided to wipe out all Azerbaijanis in Khankendi and committed the atrocity at night. Almost 20 years had passed since the night of Khankendi massacre, but Apresyan was still under the impression of atrocities his compatriots committed there.
"Our people", recollected Apresyan, "knocked on Turks' (Azerbaijanis) doors but got no reply. Then they broke in and the massacre started, which lasted until the last Turk (Azerbaijani) was slaughtered. Over the night, I was cowering in the corner of my room and covering my ears so that I could not hear our guys yell and poor victims scream. At the crack of dawn, we saw it was all over." [31]

O. Apresyan
Native of
Not at all sympathizing Azerbaijanis, Apresyan's recollections represent a very valuable first-hand admission to Dashnak gangs' activities in Karabakh.
The Armenian-Azerbaijani war (1918-1920) resulted in one more expulsion of Azerbaijanis from Karabakh, mainly its mountainous part. According to the ADR's Minister of Internal Affairs, 265 villages were razed to the ground in Karabakh and Zangezur, over 10,000 Azerbaijanis murdered or wounded, and dozens of thousands people abandoned their homes and became refugees. By two waves of expulsion, Armenians succeeded in creating the space where they constituted an overwhelming majority.

Russian researcher A.Skibitsky points out that the territory incorporated in NKAO would cover not the entire Nagorno-Karabakh but rather its piedmont part, the latter separating the Upper Karabakh from steppes of the lowland Lower Karabakh, which had predominantly Armenian population. [32] It can be safely said that this territory had been an integral part of Karabakh as a solid geographical space until the artificial Armenian autonomy was established in the mountainous part thereof. As can be derived from above censuses, Azerbaijanis had always outnumbered Armenians on these lands.

Of course, it would be difficult for Armenians to establish control over the entire Karabakh in this case, so they made up the artificial notion of "Nagorno-Karabakh" and politicized it after the two independent states emerged in the South Caucasus in 1918, to justify their territorial claims to Azerbaijan.

Karabakh's Population During The USSR: Demographic Development and Its Causes
When Western Zangezur was transferred to Armenia in 1921, followed by an artificial Armenian autonomy set up in Nagorno-Karabakh in 1923, it disrupted historical boundaries of the region, resulted in its administrative splitting to new uyezds and later to districts (rayons) in the Soviet fashion.

That, in turn, preconditioned new conflicts stemming from use of grazing lands and water between the autonomous region and adjacent Azerbaijani-populated areas within the Azerbaijan SSR and between frontier Azerbaijani-populated districts of Karabakh and Armenia.

Armenian historians love playing with figures that show NKAO's Armenian demography trends between the establishment of the entity and the commencement of the Karabakh conflict in 1988. In doing so, they attempt justifying the statement that the Armenian autonomy established in 1923 allegedly failed to incorporate all the territories inhabited by Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. They believe NKAO was supposed to include Armenian-populated parts of Lachin, Shaumyan, Kalbajar, Dashkasan, Khanlar, Gedabey, Shamkir districts of the Azerbaijan SSR.

The attempt to artificially expand Nagorno-Karabakh's boundaries was made to prove that the seven occupied districts around NKAO belonged to Armenians, and subsequently claim other lands as well.

But there were objective reasons that heavily influenced the change in NKAO's Armenian-Azerbaijani population ratio during the Soviet period. It was no other than Armenians who reported that 45,000 natives of Karabakh had been drafted and sent to the front during the war with Germany. Out of those drafted, 3% were Azerbaijani nationals [33], which, considering the last pre-war census of 1939, made up approximately 1,400 people. That, in turn, made up some 10% of Azerbaijani population of the autonomous region; hence military draft percentage for Azerbaijani nationals was consistent with that of NKAO's total population.

The Soviet authorities were sticking to this approach when drafting other nationals in union and autonomous republics and regions. NKAO lost some 22,000 people to the war; Most people who returned home after the war had to leave the region again, this time in search of work [34]. The war impacted the ratio between Armenian and Azerbaijani population of the region.

Still, Armenian historians view the post-war reduction of NKAO's Armenian population and increase of its Azerbaijani counterpart only from the standpoint of deliberate politics led by Azerbaijan's authorities, who, they say, did not bother themselves with social and economic issues of the region, giving rise to Armenian migration. The regional ethnic composition changes, however, stemmed from objective processes that took place in social and economic life of the Azerbaijan SSR in 1950-1970s.

As collective farmers were granted the right to hold passports in 1959, the rural to urban migration, including that of NKAO's Armenian community, to the cities of Azerbaijan SSR and the broader Union stepped up considerably. People moved away to get enrolled in universities (the first and the only higher education entity in the region, the Pedagogic Institute, was set up in 1969 as a branch entity of the Azerbaijan Pedagogic Institute, and became an independent entity in 1973). Many people joined Komsomol crews and went as laborers to huge constructions sites that were strewn throughout the country after the war.

Some of them never came back, as they settled in, had a family, and found an occupational job upon graduation from the university. That was quite natural as they all were the citizens of the one state without internal borders, be it union or autonomous republics or regions.

It must be borne in mind that the post-war rapid growth of the region's population combined with its specific economic structure actually prevented creating jobs for the entire manpower in NKAO. The regional economy was tightly connected to that of various regions in Azerbaijan, so over 40% of NKAO's demand on the eve of the 1988 conflict was supplied by inbound freights [35].

New industrial centers were set up in the post-war Azerbaijan in late 1940s and early 1950s: Mingachevir (4,235 Armenians as per 1959 census), Sumgayit (7,031 Armenians as per 1959 census), Dashkasan (16,626 Armenians as per 1959 census) (6); migrating to these cities were, inter alia, Armenians from NKAO, who got employed by industrial facilities and in service sector.

Too, traditional migration of NKAO's Armenian population to the republic's largest industrial center, Baku, persisted over years. The city's Armenian population (including suburbs) rose between 1926 and 1979 from 77,000 to 216,000 despite the losses it had sustained during World War Two.

  • The 1725-1727 taxpayer census reflected ethnic split of the region's population;
  • The 1832 tax census in the Russian Empire was carried out on a family count basis. These figures represent the actual correlation between the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities in the region;
  • The 19th century data encompass the territory of the former Karabakh Khanate, which was incorporated in the Russian Empire and split to four uyezds. The USSR data (for 1926 and onwards) encompass the territory of NKAO, that is, only the mountainous part of Karabakh, where Armenians represented a majority of population at that time. That is to say, the deliberate resettlement of Armenians from the Ottoman Empire and Persia prompted its isolation into an autonomous region within Azerbaijan.
According to the 1970 census, NKAO population reached the pre-war level and even surpassed it. At the same time, Azerbaijani population displayed positive growth trends; this was due not only to higher birth rates compared to those of Armenians, but to NKAO's social and economic development that attracted rural Azerbaijani population from adjacent territories.

NKAO's population rose by 12 thousand people between 1970 and 1979; the Azerbaijani community grew by 10 thousand people, while the Armenian by only 2 thousand. It can be said as to the causes and nature of NKAO Armenians' migration that it mainly stemmed from urbanization processes. Such change in direction may also relate to new national development processes in Azerbaijan that gained traction in the second half of 1950s.

With Azerbaijanis actively participating in urbanization processes, Azerbaijani language expanded its scope of application and was gradually replacing Russian.

The censuses of 1970 and 1979 show that increase of Azerbaijani population in the republic's cities, notably in Baku, would result in a significant reduction of the non-indigenous population, Armenian among them.

Those who could not or did not want to move away, had to adapt to increasingly significant Azerbaijani factor in the life of the republic. These national development processes gave rise to two distinct trends that showed with the Armenian population of Azerbaijan as whole and of NKAO in particular.

On the one hand, tensions were provoked by various forces, those in Yerevan (Irevan) among them, and grew between them and the Azerbaijani community; on the other, the Armenian migration from NKAO changed its direction. This process was only voluntary, and people never were deliberately pressured by the republic's authorities or Azerbaijani community. Armenian migration to Armenia stemmed from language factors in the first place.

Whereas Russian-speaking Armenians mostly migrated to different regions of Russia or European part of the Soviet Union. Such migration naturally impacted the birth rate and natural increase of Armenian population.

These processes were coinciding with Azerbaijani population increase in NKAO because of both natural increase and positive migration. Azerbaijani nationals mainly migrated to the region from adjacent districts.

The Azerbaijan-wide increase of the Azerbaijani population during 1970-1979 was 25% compared to 37% in NKAO. The migration of Azerbaijani nationals to NKAO mainly stemmed from social and economic factors, sizeable investments in the regional economy among them.

Let us provide a few figures to justify this statement. In March 1988, a round table was convened at the National Economy Management Institute under the AzSSR Council of Ministers, attended by officials from Azerbaijan Communist Party Central Committee's Economic Division, ministries of Food Industry, Wood-Processing Industry and Forestry, Consumer Goods Industry, Public Service, Construction and Municipal Facilities Department, Gosplan, Azerenerji, Academy of Science's Institute of Economics, and Academy of Science's Institute of Geography.

Invited from Moscow, attending the meeting was also Academician Tigran Khachaturov.

During 1971-1985, 483 million rubles were invested in the development of the region, that is, 2.8 times that invested over the previous 15-year period.

NKAO was leading among Azerbaijan SSR's economic regions (save Baku) in terms of industrial production per capita, which made up over 1,400 rubles. Over the last three five-year periods, the region commissioned 15 new industrial facilities and other production capacities. NKAO was the second (after Shaki) sericulture center in the Azerbaijan SSR. It accounted for two-thirds of the regional light industry produce and nearly 25 percent of the republic's silk industry.

Social infrastructure facilities and sustainable economic connections were created and working class formed not least because of this very field. NKAO also was one of important agricultural centers of our republic;

By late 1980s, it accounted for 3.2% of agricultural products that were produced republic-wide. The last three five-year periods alone saw the installation of some 1300 km worth of high-voltage overhead transmission lines. NKAO was the only region in the republic to have been power supplied from three sources, thus guaranteeing a higher power security.

In 1961-1987, 1,400.3 thousand square meters of residential spaces were built in the region; that included 123.9 thousand square meters built over two years of the twelfth fiver-year period, 1.6 times as much as during the respective timeframe of the eleventh fiver-year period. That helped improve living conditions for over 12 thousand people,

bringing the residential space per capita both in the town and in the countryside to 14.6 square meters. It was quite a high figure, considering that the republic average was 12.2 and 9.2 respectively, Baku average 11.7, and the Union average 14.9 square meters.
Khojaly in the Soviet period
Khojaly in the Soviet period
Lachin in the Soviet period
Lachin in the Soviet period
Lachin in the Soviet period
Shusha in the Soviet period
Shusha in the Soviet period
Shusha in the Soviet period
Service consumption per capita in NKAO was higher than the republic average; there were more hospital beds, retail outlets, canteens, service centers, libraries, clubs, cinema theaters per 10,000 people. Karabakh's natural geographical and economic togetherness with other regions of Azerbaijan was emphasized by the location of vital communications, that is, Agdam-Stepanakert (now Khankendi) railway, motor roads, gas pipelines, and power supply lines. All this greatly boosted national economy in the autonomous region [36].

As far as staffing policy and national representation in authorities were concerned, Armenians still greatly outnumbered Azerbaijani nationals.

Local Soviets, for instance, were set up by the regional government, which was usually 90-98% Armenian (save Shusha). Only 24 out of 165 members of the Regional Committee were Azerbaijani nationals; there were only 30 Azerbaijani nationals among 465 secretaries of NKAO's primary party organizations (again, save Shusha). The Regional Committee administration in Stepanakert (Khankendi) was effectively 100% Armenian. Azerbaijani minority was also underrepresented in trade unions, Komsomol, law-enforcement bodies, and people's control [37].

The population changes in NKAO were therefore not resulting from some systematic policy pursued by Azerbaijani government in order to displace Armenians, but rather rose from objective social and economic development processes in the region.

Recommended reading:
[1] Z.M. Bunyadov. Azerbaijan in 7th-9th Centuries AD. Baku, 1965, pp. 91-102.
[2] F. Mammadova. Caucasian Albania And Albanians. Baku, 2005, p.396
[3] F. Mammadova. Caucasian Albania And Albanians. Baku, 2005, p.412
[4] Detailed Register of Ganja-Karabakh Province. Foreword, translation, notes, and comments by Kh.Mammadova (Garamanli). Baku, 2000, p.12 (in Azerbaijani language)
[5] Acta of the Caucasian Archeographic Commission. V.2. Tiflis, 1868, pp.704-705
[6] S. Aliyarli. Republic of Azerbaijan: Notes on State Borders. The Past and The Present / Karabakh: History in The Context of Conflict. St Petersburg, 2014, p. 32.
[7] N.A. Tavakalyan. Resettlement of Armenians from Persia and Turkey to Transcaucasia Following Annexation of Eastern Armenia to Russia / Historical and Philological Journal, 1978, No.3, p.32
[8] Ibid.
[9] Overview of Russian Territories in Transcaucasia. Part III, St Petersburg, 1836, pp. 267, 308
[10] M. Ismayilov. Karabakh in 19th Through Early 20th Century. / Karabakh: History in The Context of Conflict. St Petersburg, 2014, pp. 234.
[11] D.I. Ismayilzada. The Population of Transcaucasian Territory in 19th Through Early 20th Century. Moscow, 1991, p. 69.
[12] Ibid., p.84
[13] Statistical Book: Population of Transcaucasian Territory as Provided by 1886 Family Registers. Tiflis, 1893, pp. 275-276.
[14] First Russian Imperial Census (1897). LXIII. Yelizavetpol Governorate, 1904, p. 3.
[15] Caucasian Calendar-1917. Tiflis, 1916, pp.190-196,216-221
[16] State Archive of the Republic of Azerbaijan (hereinafter "SARA"), f. 28, bordereau 1, folder 42, sh. 20-35
[17] State Archive of the Russian Federation: f. 102, bordereau 253, folder 285, sh. 6
[18] Central State Historical Archive of Georgia (hereinafter CSHAG): f. 13, bordereau 27, folder 93, sh. 6
[19] State Archive of the Russian Federation: f. 102 (1906), bordereau 235, folder 40, sh. 28
[20] Political Document Archive Under Presidential Property Management Department of the Republic of Azerbaijan: f. 276, bordereau 8, folder 571, sh. 8; Russian State Historical Archive (hereinafter RSHA): f. 1405, bordereau 110, folder 3461, sh. 64
[21] Political Document Archive Under Presidential Property Management Department of the Republic of Azerbaijan: f. 276, bordereau 8, folder 571, sh. 28-29.
[22] CSHAG: f. 83, bordereau 1, folder 380, sh. 137
[23] CSHAG: f. 83, bordereau 1, folder 54, sh. 47.; Kaspi, 14 May 1906, No. 103, p. 4
[24] CSHAG: f. 83, bordereau 1, folder 54, sh. 115
[25] Political Document Archive Under Presidential Property Management Department of the Republic of Azerbaijan: f. 276, bordereau 8, folder 111, sh. 44; Kaspi, 12 September 1906, № 195, p.44. 3
[26] V. Vadin. The Caucasian Sketches. From Recollections of a Russian Officer About Armenian-Tatar Clashes. St Petersburg, 1907, pp. 17, 27.
[27] State Historical Archive of Azerbaijan Republic (SHAAR): f. 62, bordereau 1, folder 41, sh. 98.
[28] The Truth of Armenian-Muslim Bloody Clash in Yelizavetpol. // Caucasus, No. 16, 20 January 1906, p. 4.
[29] Kaspi, 12 October 1906, No. 217, p.3.
[30] SHAAR: f. 484, bordereau 1, folder 47, sh. 1-2.
[31] V. Guliyev. Armenian Atrocities in Azerbaijan. Baku, 2001, p. 34.
[32] A. Skibitsky. Karabakh Crisis. Soyuz, 1991, No.7.
[33] B.S. Mirzoyan. Nagorno-Karabakh (Pondering Over Statistical Data) // Social Science Digest of Armenia. 1988, No.7, p.44.
[34] Ibid.
[35] Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Collection of articles. Baku, 1990, p.89
[36] Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Collection of articles, pp. 79-97
[37] R. Aghayev. Karabakh Crisis: The Staffing Policy Effect. Baku Worker, 29 March 1990.