Karabakh Council

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For other Armenian national council, see Armenian National Council.

The Karabakh Council was an unrecognised government of Nagorno-Karabakh of eastern Armenia between 1918-1920. It was elected by the Karabakh Congress, the representative body of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, on July 27, 1918. Initially it was called the People's Government of Karabakh, but in September, 1918 it was renamed into the Karabakh Council.[citation needed] The claims surrounding the council 1918-1920 are related to the historical Artsakh (189 BC - 387 AD) and the unrecognized modern "Republic of Artsakh" founded January 1992.[1]

Historical Context[edit]

From 1918 until the Soviet takeover of the region in 1920, Armenia and the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic both sought control over Nagorno Karabagh.[2][3][4]

Conflicting claims[edit]

Some Armenians claim that Nagorno-Karabakh was not a part of Azerbaijan in 1918-1920 and that it was independent and affiliated the Republic of Armenia.[5] Against this some Azerbaijani writers dismiss these claims as "nonsense."[6]

Formation of the Karabakh Council[edit]

According to Armenian sources the Karabakh Council was an independent national government which exercised its powers during the periods following the congresses. Emanuele Aliprandi, an Italian writer who edits the bi-weekly newsletter of the Italian Armenian community's online website has published such claims in Le ragioni del Karabakh (2010), which is "the first text in Italian on the little Republic of Artsakh."[7] Aliprandi claims that Council considered itself authorized to act both as a legislative and executive body, and that the decisions on major political and economic issues of the region during 1918-1920 were taken by the Karabakh Congress. Geographically, the scope of the powers of the Council covered the mountainous regions of Karabagh, including the Armenian villages of Gandzak District.[citation needed]

The first provisional government included:

  • Justice Department: Commissar Arso Hovhannisian, Levon Vardapetian
  • Military Department: Harutiun Tumanian
  • Department of Education: Rouben Shahnazarian
  • Refugees Department: Moushegh Zakharian
  • Control Department: Anoush Ter-Mikaelian
  • Department of Foreign Affairs: Ashot Melik-Hovsepian.[citation needed]

The Council was chaired by Yeghishe Ishkhanian, and Melikset Yesayan was elected its secretary.[citation needed]

When the Yerevan-based Armenian Congress of Eastern Armenians was established at October 1917, it incorporated the Armenian National Councils all around the Russian Empire including activities of Armenian National Councils in Karabagh, Tiflis and Baku.[citation needed]


  1. ^ James Minahan The Council Encyclopedia of the stateless nations 2002 Page 901 "The section is separated from the Republic of Armenia by some 15 miles of Azeri territory, which has been under Karabakhi and Armenian occupation since 1993. Nagornu-Karabakh was declared independent as the Republic of Artsakh in January 1992. Artsakh's status remains unsettled. Officially the area forms an autonomous district of the Republic of Azerbaidzhan. Republic of Artsakh (Na^orno-Karabakb): 1,699 sq. mi.— 4,402 sq. km, (20O2e) ..."
  2. ^ Jerry L. Johnson Crossing Borders - Confronting History: Intercultural Adjustment 2000 Page 142 "Under Soviet rule, ethnic tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh were suppressed. However, with ... From 1918 until the Soviet takeover of the region in 1920, Armenians and Azerbaijanis battled over the region. In 1920, the ... "
  3. ^ Nicholas Holding, Deirdre Holding Armenia 2011 - Page 265 "... Armenia and the equally new Azerbaijan Democratic Republic both sought control over Nagorno Karabagh between 1918 and 1920. ... In August 1919, this National Council entered into a provisional treaty arrangement with the Azerbaijan government to try to halt the ..."
  4. ^ M. Wesley Shoemaker Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States 2012 - Page 196 "... Armenian nationalists joined with Georgians and Azerbaijani to form the Transcaucasus Federal Republic in April 1918, but the new state collapsed in just over a month. An independent Armenia was then declared on May 26, 1918. ... The loss to Turkey in 1920 led to a change in government and the creation of the Soviet Republic of Armenia in December 1920."
  5. ^ Heiko Krüger The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: A Legal Analysis 2010 Page 48 "Consequently Moscow could not alter the borders itself, nor did it intend to in the case of Nagorno- Karabakh. ... In denying recognition to the illegally established Armenian parallel government in Karabakh (“National Council”),307 Moscow ... Armenia argues that the transformation of Azerbaijan was guided by the notion of re- founding the first Republic of Azerbaijan of 1918-1920 and revoking the Treaty .."
  6. ^ Tofik Kocharli - Armenian Deception: Historical Information 2004- Page 31 "The Armenian government and the Armenian parliament have not even expressed an official attitude to this decision. The decision has just remained on paper. Thus the claims that Nagorno-Karabakh was not a part of Azerbaijan in 1918-1920 or that it was independent, or that it was a part of the Republic of Armenia are nonsense. The claim that Azerbaijan didn't have sovereignty."
  7. ^ Italian Armenian community publication note on Emanuele Aliprandi Le ragioni del Karabakh "il primo testo in italiano sulla piccola repubblica caucasica dell’Artsakh."