Azerbaijan (de jure)
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Lachin (Azerbaijani: Laçın, Armenian: Բերդձոր Berdzor, Kurdish: Laçîn; also Abdallyar, Datschin) is a town in Azerbaijan and the regional center of the Lachin Rayon. Since 1992 the area has been under the control of the de facto independent unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which has renamed the town Berdzor. The town and its surrounding region serve as the strategic Lachin corridor connecting the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic with Armenia. With about 1,700 inhabitants in 2009 (down from 2,300 in 2005), population numbers are still declining despite a proactive settlement policy by the authorities.
Lachin was known as Abdalyar until 1923. On 15 May 1992, during the Nagorno-Karabakh War, Lachin was invaded by the Armenian military forces, opening the first land-corridor to Armenia. Previously, on May 13, 1992 Turkey threatened Armenia that, "It would intervene militarily if Shusha and Lachin were not restored to Azerbaijan". Russia responded by signing a military agreement with Armenia, pledging military aid if its security was threatened. On May 20, 1992, Turkey reassured Russia, that it would not intervene militarily. Thus, after three years of blockade, a land bridge linking the Republic of Armenia with the territory of Nagorno Karabakh was established. In the fall of 1992, Azerbaijani forces tried to regain control over Lachin, but were repulsed. All of Lachin's Azerbaijani and Kurdish population fled as a result of the fall of the region to Armenian armed forces.
In the early 1920s, Vladimir Lenin's letter to Narimanov "had implied that Lachin was to be included in Azerbaijan, but the authorities in Baku and Yerevan were given promises that were inevitably contradictory." The town of Lachin on July 7, 1923, became the capital of Kurdistan Uyezd often known as Red Kurdistan. It was dissolved on April 8, 1929: Kurdish schools and newspapers were closed. According to Bushkapin[who?], official statistics from 1931 show that there were 3,322 Kurdish speakers in Lachin. These figures did not include those individuals who did not speak Kurdish but nonetheless defined themselves as Kurds. Most of the Kurdish population in Lachin were Shi'a Muslims and there was a Kurdish minority in the area before the Nagorno-Karabakh War started.
Lachin town and the surrounding rayon were the location of severe fighting during the 1990-1994 Nagorno-Karabakh war, and the town has not wholly recovered from the destruction of that war. Lachin is the most important town under Armenian control because of the Lachin corridor, which attaches Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Minsk Group co-chairs noted that "Lachin has been treated as a separate case in previous negotiations." This is because Lachin is Nagorno Karabakh's humanitarian and security corridor. Without it, Nagorno-Karabakh would remain an isolated enclave. The Lachin corridor and the Kelbajar district have been at the center of Armenian demands during the Nagorno-Karabakh peace talks with Azerbaijan.
Berdzor is twinned with:
- Pictures of Lachin
- Demographic Crisis in Lachin (Berdzor)
- More information about Lachin (Berdzor) from Armeniapedia.com
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