Twenty-Five Years After Shushi’s Liberation, We Cannot Take Artsakh for Granted

Armenians Capture Shushi: Last Azeri Stronghold in Karabagh Falls

STEPANAKERT (Combined Wire Services)— The self-defense forces of the Mountainous Karabagh Republic overran Shushi, the last Azeri stronghold in the region, on May 9, crowning a long military campaign to secure full control of the territory.

The main headline and opening sentence of the Armenian Weekly’s May 16, 1992 issue broke the news of a major turning point in the Karabagh War that took place 25 years ago—the liberation of Shushi.

The main headline and opening sentence of the Armenian Weekly’s May 16, 1992 issue broke the news of a major turning point in the Karabagh War that took place 25 years ago—the liberation of Shushi.

The city had become an Azerbaijani stronghold, but after heavy fighting on May 8-9, 1992, Armenian forces liberated Shushi in what became a defining moment in helping establish a corridor to Armenia. That corridor—known as the “Road of Life”—eventually allowed for the lasting defense of the then newly independent country.

Today, a quarter century later, Azerbaijan continues to violate the 1994 ceasefire agreement at every chance it gets. A little over a year after the April 2016 War, there has been no let-up by Aliyev regime.

During the month of April, Armenian communities around the world commemorated the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and demanded justice for the Great Crime. Here in the United States, Armenian-Americans also continued their struggle for U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide. While the U.S. recognition of the genocide is important and necessary, it cannot come at the expense of other issues—pertinent issues like Artsakh.

And luckily, it hasn’t…

Twenty-five years after the headlines about Shushi’s liberation appeared on the front pages of Armenian Diasporan newspapers, it is evident that Armenians around the world—including here in the Eastern United States—have not lost sight of Artsakh’s importance and realize the significance of Artsakh’s security to the future viability of the Armenian nation.

Projects like the Arajamugh Village Expansion are evidence that the diaspora’s focus has not shifted away from Artsakh. Rather, the worldwide Armenian community’s tradition of offering vital assistance to Artsakh has developed from simple charity to long-term development; to building for the future.

The Jdrduz canyon in Shushi, NKR (Photo: Rupen Janbazian)

Organizations such as the Armenian Relief Society (ARS), with its worldwide regions and chapters, have been instrumental in the country’s development and growth, with such admirable projects as the construction and sponsorship of the “Sosseh” Kindergartens.

Just this past weekend, the entire proceeds from a series of events organized by the Hamazkayin New York chapter celebrating its fiftieth anniversary were allocated to supply military-grade first-aid kits to the Artsakh Armed Forces.

This all proves that the Armenian Diaspora has not forgotten about Artsakh, because it realizes that when the independence of Artsakh is at stake, the future of a free, independent, and greater Armenia is at stake as well.

We cannot lose sight of this reality and must constantly recommit ourselves to Artsakh’s development and future.

Twenty-five years after Shushi’s liberation, we cannot afford to take Artsakh for granted.


Rupen Janbazian

Rupen Janbazian is the former editor of The Armenian Weekly. His writings primarily focus on politics, human rights, community, literature, and Armenian culture. He has reported from Armenia, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh), Turkey, Canada, the United States, and Western Armenia. He has served on the local and national executives of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) of Canada and Hamazkayin Toronto, and served as the administrator of the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Toronto. Janbazian also taught Armenian History and Creative Writing at the ARS Armenian Private School of Toronto, and has worked on several translations.

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  1. An excellent that needs to be constantly re-enforced. The story of Artsakh is a modern miracle
    and inspiration. It represents a reversal of our long set of territorial losses. These heroes
    are most deserving of our sustained and long term support. It is our responsibility to do all
    that we can to help build a thriving democracy that will give our brethren the gift of peace and
    prosperity. We must continue to stay focused and never assume we have done

  2. Armenians have only one option in order to survive for the foreseeable future.
    We must get together to built super country. United we can prevail! Armenia live for ever and beyond ever!

  3. Can someone explain to an Armenian born in the diaspora (America) why Artaskh is so important to Armenia? It seems like it ruins our international reputation as those who would prefer to colonize and drive out other people from their own lands and claim it as our own. I don’t want to get into historical precedence, because with that in mind we’re owed lands which are now in Turkey, Azerbaijan, and parts of Georgia. The fact remains that a countries wealth is tied to it’s ability to trade with it’s nearest neighbours – yet Armenia being a landlocked country relies primarily on Iran and Russia, and while the border is blocked to Turkey and Azerbaijan it doesn’t stop goods from ending up in Armenia from those countries as their origin.

    I’m not trying to inflame anyone, it’s hard to find level-headed Armenians to discuss this topic with, as there is a lot of nationalism and animosity towards turks which clouds the discussion. I’m talking about a pragmatic approach to gaining the trust of our nearest neighbours to engage in trade with them, enriching Armenia with opportunities from those countries (specifically money!).

    • Dear Random Hye, for your own credibility, try to be more subtle next time you pretend to be Armenian. It was a funny comment though. With love, from liberated Artsakh.

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