STEPANAKERT—Thousands of Artsakh residents gathered at Stepanakert’s Renaissance Square on Tuesday to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Artsakh liberation movement, kicking off a series of events organized to mark this milestone.
Artsakh President Bako Sahakian led the procession of leaders, which included the republic’s second president Arkady Ghoukasyan, Primate of the Artsakh Diocese Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan, Artsakh Movement veterans, high-ranking state officials, representatives from Armenia and the Diaspora, as well as foreign guests.
In an address delivered at the celebration, Sahakian congratulated the people of Artsakh and the entire Armenian nation on the defining moment that became a liberation struggle.
Below is the English translation of Sahakian’s address as provided by his press office.
“The year of 1988 was a turning point in the history of the Armenian nation. Three decades ago these days the entire Armenian nation joined forces, doubled their fist, alerting the whole world of their readiness to struggle for living free and secure in their homeland,” said Sahakian.
“This nationwide outpouring was a challenge in to tyranny, persecutions, gross violations and abuses of human rights, all the scourges, which our people had undergone over the course of their centuries-old history. And the movement was bestowed with the restoration of the independent Armenian statehood,” added Sahakian.
Being under alien and artificially-created Azerbaijan’s yoke against its will Artsakh was condemned to extermination and death. The same fate befell Nakhijvan, other historical Armenian regions annexed to Azerbaijan. Numerous ethnic minorities in that country were forcibly assimilated and disappeared from the stage of history.
We had no alternative and were never reconciled to captivity, making numerous attempts to throw off the foreign yoke. It is worth quoting world famous academician Andrei Sakharov who said in his time that for the Armenians this struggle was a matter of life and death, for Azerbaijan – just a matter of ambition.
Notwithstanding all this, the Artsakh Movement is one of the exceptional examples of national-liberation struggles that adopted the policy of restoring historical justice and violated human rights through civilized and peaceful means, in strict compliance with international norms and rules.
In response to this the Azerbaijani authorities once again without hesitation resorted to violence, organizing mass killings, massacres, displacement of the Armenian civilian population, which became the manifestations of the most detestable crimes against humanity.
As a result of this genocidal policy hundreds and thousands of Armenians were forcibly displaced from their homes, various regions of our historical Homeland, thousands of people perished and were wounded, rich material and spiritual heritage of the Armenian culture was destroyed in the territory of the present-day Azerbaijani Republic.
Azerbaijan pursues this inhumane policy today as well. The Baku authorities have not abrogated their aims of solving the Artsakh issue by force, resorting to different provocations, violating the ceasefire regime on a daily basis, conducting aggressive policy against Artsakh and Mother Armenia in information, political, diplomatic and other spheres. Moreover, launching the large-scale offensive in April 2016 Azerbaijan planned to destroy the Artsakh statehood via blitzkrieg.
All those endeavors failed and the adversary was rebuffed, suffering serious casualties, material and moral losses. It always has been like that, so it will be in the future too.
The guarantors of that are our powerful army, the Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora unshakable trinity, our people carving their country’s secure future on their own, the patriotic and strong independence generation being forged while defending the Motherland.
The Defense Army and the Armenian Armed Forces are among the greatest achievements of our National-Liberation Struggle, our independent statehood, the most reliable guarantee ensuring our people’s and motherland’s security and its normal development, one of the most influential factors of maintaining peace and stability in the region.
The state will further on do everything possible toward strengthening the country’s defense capacity, securing the high level of our Armed Forces’ fighting efficiency, shipping the army with modern military equipment.
In this struggle for survival, unfortunately, we have had irretrievable losses. The best sons and daughters of our people have sacrificed their lives for the sacred mission of defending the Motherland. They are not victims, they are martyred heroes who have become immortal and continue the sacred mission of being the Motherland defenders inspiring and obliging to devotedly serve the homeland, work for the glory of its development and strengthening.
All our losses are open wounds and will always remain in our people’s memory and history.
Thirty years later the spirit and testaments of the 1988 continue to be landmarks for our people and our vision is directed solely towards the future.
We will continue to build independent democratic and social country, further cement the Mother Armenia-Artsakh-Diaspora trinity. Independent statehood is our greatest value and everybody’s responsibility is to do the maximum towards its consistent progress and reinforcement.
Over the past three decades Artsakh has passed a determined state building path. Our people efficiently fulfilled the most difficult tasks set before them. We defended our state, its independence and freedom, restored the economy almost completely ruined as the result of the war and entered the stage of sustainable development.
Currently, almost all the branches of the economy are steadily developing, people’s living standards are consistently improving. Artsakh’s international recognition is in process. Day by day our country is becoming recognizable to the world and is establishing stable ties with different entities.
During all these years we have always felt the special care of Mother Armenia towards Artsakh. Our achievements and accomplishments are impossible to imagine without the active and immediate participation of the Republic of Armenia.
Today we solve great and responsible tasks together. We are all resolute and will do our best to make the future day reliable, our homeland stronger and more prosperous.
The adversary must always know that the language of force is doomed to failure. Our people, our army and the whole Armenian people will give a worthy counter-stroke to every encroachment that threatens our freedom and security.
Long Live the free and independent Artsakh!
Long Live Mother Armenia!
Long Live the heroic Armenian people!