By Haykaram Nahapetyan
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
STEPANAKERT – 2018 marked the 30th anniversary of the Artsakh movement. Commemorations took place in the republic and across the globe. Public rallies in Stepanakert kicked off in February – chronologically matching the events of 1988, when, on February 13, the first demonstration demanding unification of Artsakh and Armenia took place in then-Soviet Nagorno Karabakh (NK). As a reminder, NK had been placed under Soviet Azerbaijani rule as an Armenian autonomous republic by an arbitrary decision of the Bolshevik dictator Stalin in July, 1921. Photo exhibitions displaying images of the 30-year-old events took the visitors back to those historic days.
In March, President of Artsakh Bako Sahakyan and his delegation paid a working visit to Washington D.C., where they, inter alia, commemorated the important anniversary and held meetings on Capitol Hill, discussed urgent issues in one of DC’s think-tanks, and visited the Library of Congress and toured with Levon Avdoyan, the Armenian and Georgian desk supervisor of the library. The delegation included also Masis Mayilyan, the Minister of the Foreign Affairs, David Babayan, the deputy head of President’s administration, and parliamentarians of Artsakh’s National Assembly.
In May, 2018, the people of Artsakh celebrated the anniversary of the liberation of ancient Armenian fortress of Shushi in 1992, as well as the 100th anniversary of the first Armenian republic. Artsakhtsis also celebrated other local holidays, such as Republic Day on September 2 (that day in 1991 the local legislative body formally declared the independence of NK from Soviet Azerbaijan) and December 10, when, in conformity with Soviet laws, a people’s referendum was held to confirm the decision on independence.
In 2018, political life in the republic was active. After the resignation of State Minister (equivalent to prime minister) Arayik Harutyunyan, former Minister of Finances and lecturer at Artsakh State University Grigory Martirosyan was appointed to run the refreshed cabinet.