Artsakh: Before and After the War



Photographer Nazik Armenakyan captures glimpses of Artsakh before and after the 2020 war resulting from Azerbaijani aggression. Because Azerbaijan was backed militarily by Turkey, many Armenians described the war as a continuation of the 1915 genocide of Armenians (and Assyrians and Pontic Greeks) committed by the Ottoman Empire. Azerbaijan’s revanchist offensive and post-ceasefire claims to swaths of ethnic Armenian-majority Artsakh thus reveal an enduring campaign of Armenian displacement and dispossession.

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On the road to Artsakh from Armenia, 2020. A line of checkpoints manned by Russian peacekeepers are a reminder of the stark changes that have taken place in the region since the end of the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War in November 2020. The peacekeepers are responsible for ensuring the security of roads and for preventing clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers.
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Father Hovhannes Hovhannisyan, Abbot of Dadivank Monastery, 2017. After the 2020 war and under the terms of the Russia-brokered accord, Russian peacekeepers currently stationed at Dadivank will patrol the line of contact that has separated Armenian and Azerbaijani solders since the end of the First Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994. The priests will be allowed to remain in the monastery; tanks and armored personnel carriers lined the entrance.
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The village of Haykajur, Artsakh, 2020. On September 27, 2020, a large-scale war resumed along the entire borderline between the Republic of Artsakh and Azerbaijan. A ceasefire was established 44 days later, on November 10, via a trilateral agreement between Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. During the evacuation of the village, many people burned down their homes before leaving.
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In the operating room of the National Burn Center in Yerevan, Armenia, 2020. Since September 27, hundreds of servicemen have been admitted to the hospital. According to doctors, many of the burns that people received during the first days of the war were unlike any of the cases they had ever encountered in their practices. Injuries and swelling, especially in the upper extremities, persisted for a long time; the wounds caused by the burns are deep in some places, often with bleeding and scarring. According to the Human Rights Defender of Armenia, Azerbaijani Armed Forces used weapons of mass destruction containing chemical elements, possibly including white phosphorus.
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17 years old, teaching geometry class, 2017. In 2015, Stepanakert Military High School admitted female cadets for the first time: Eva was one of the three.
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Vardan, a 14-year-old rider and herdsman. Artsakh, 2017.
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The house of ceremonies in the northeastern village of Talish, Artsakh, 2016. Talish, as with other parts of the Martakert Province, came under some of the fiercest attacks from Azerbaijan during the Four-Day War in early April 2016. Much of the town was completely destroyed by the military.
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A road in Martakert, Artsakh, 2020. A rocket after an attack by the Smerch, a Soviet heavy multiple rocket launcher.
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The broken window of a school in Karvachar, 2020. As a result of the 2020 war, numerous cities, towns, and villages in Artsakh came under the control of Azerbaijan.
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Yerablur Military Pantheon, 2021. Yerablur is a national cemetery where bodies of soldiers, freedom fighters, and national heroes killed fighting for Nagorno-Karabakh are buried.
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En route. Artsakh, 2017.