The traffic system in the region was also poorly developed. No railway connections existed in the area. Apart from two through roads of importance to the Union, which crossed the autonomous region, the road network was in bad or largely unimproved state. The roads were built in such a way that long detours had to be made, sometimes over administrative districts outside Karabakh, in order to reach the district centres from the capital of Stepanakert. Although the region was located in favourable geographical position with regard to Georgia and Armenia, and could establish close economic contracts with them, the exchange of good with them accounted only 2% of the region’s total foreign trade volume. From all the above mentioned facts it could be easily concluded that the government of Azerbaijan pursued an economic policy that consciously hindered strong economic involvement of the region especially with Armenia. Even the trans-border cultural contact with the Soviet Republic of Armenia was subject to extremely harsh restrictions. Programmes from central Moscow and Yerevan TV stations were more difficult to receive than those from Iran. As to the demographic development of the region, in 1913, before the World War and the Revolution, 176000 people lived in the administrative districts of Karabakh (96%). Their number decreased there – after and at the establishment of autonomy (1923-24) numbered 157.800 people of whom approximately 147.000 were Armenian, i.e. 94%. In 1926, at the first official census in the Soviet State, the population only numbered 125.300, of which 111.700 were Armenians (89%) and 12.600 Azerbaijanis (10,1%). It is evident from a comparison of numbers that – probably mainly because of disappointment with the questionable status of autonomy – a large percentage, practically 1/4 of the Armenian population, migrated. The time up until the outbreak of the Second World War led to a limited consolidation. In Nagorny Karabakh in 1939 the population numbered 150.800 – 138.228 Armenians and 14.100 Azerbaijanis. As a result of the war and Stalin’s regime of terror and of migration, the population sank by the census in 1959 to 130.400, the Armenians numbering only 110.100 and the Azerbaijanis increasing to 18.000. The loss was only on the Armenian ethnic group’s side. The Azerbaijanis, on the contrary, rose in their proportion – the rise in population in the USSR overall was 7,6%, in Azerbaijan 13%. With war losses of 15% amongst the Armenian ethnic group of Nagorny Karabakh, the Armenians lost twice as many people as other nations or nationalities in internal Soviet comparison. The main reason for this was the fact that a disproportionately high percent of residents were called to the front, namely 45.000, of whom only around 1400 were Azerbaijanis. The servicemen who came home from war, had to leave Karabakh, because they couldn’t find work and many of them became victims of deportation action carried out in 1949 by Azerbaijan against the Armenians of Karabakh. Considerable increase in the Azerbaijani population continued until the census of 1979. Numbering 37.200 out of a population of 162.200 inhabitants they accounted for approximately 23% of the whole population, whilst the Armenians with a slight increase up to 123.100 barely account for 76%. Between 1979 and 1987, the last year before the great upheavals in Karabakh, the trend continued. Approximately 2500 Armenians left Karabakh annually, whilst approximately 500 Azerbaijanis immigrated into the region annually. A comparative look at the demographic development of the region showed that the demographic process of change was the expression and the result of an anti-minority policy of the party and state leadership of Azerbaijan, providing the strongest proof of the massive discriminatory neglect of Nagorny Karabakh by the Azerbaijani government.18

During the 70 years of Soviet Power 70 villages disappeared in Nagorny Karabakh. New Azerbaijani settlements were established instead. The reasons for the migration of the Armenian population were manifold. Firstly and probably of most importance are the unfavourable work or professional and promotion possibilities in Karabakh, the oppression on Armenian national culture, and political, administrative and economic preference given by the government of Baku to the Azerbaijani population of Karabakh.

The number of the Armenians was rapidly decreasing in the Shahumian, Khanlar, Shamkhor, Dashkesan regions.

The thousands of Armenian monuments, scatlered all over Karabakh caused a great headache to the Azerbaijani authorities. Once again historical falsification and manipulation was exercised. In regard to the Armenian historic inheritance, the phraseology used by the scientist and authorities of Baku called the monuments “Albanian” thus trying to conceal their Armenian origin.

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