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Armenia Introduction - 2024


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Armenia prides itself on being the first state to formally adopt Christianity (early 4th century). Armenia has existed as a political entity for centuries with varying geographical boundaries and differing levels of political independence, but for much of its history it was under the sway of various empires including the Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Persian, Ottoman, and Russian. During World War I, the Ottoman Empire instituted a policy of forced resettlement coupled with other harsh practices targeting its Armenian subjects, especially those living in the eastern provinces of Anatolia, that resulted in at least 1 million Armenian deaths; these actions have been widely recognized as constituting genocide. During the early 19th century, significant Armenian populations fell under Russian rule as a result of Russian military successes against the Persian (1813) and Ottoman (1828) empires. After the Bolshevik Revolution toppled the last Russian tsar in 1917, Armenia declared its independence in 1918, but was conquered by the Soviet Red Army in 1920. Armenia, along with Azerbaijan and Georgia, was initially incorporated into the USSR as part of the Transcaucasian Federated Soviet Socialist Republic; in 1936, the federated republic was separated into its three constituent entities, which were maintained until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

For over three decades, Armenia had a longstanding conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan about the status of the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The region historically had a mixed Armenian and Azerbaijani population, although ethnic Armenians have constituted the majority since the late 19th century. In 1921, Moscow placed Nagorno-Karabakh within Soviet Azerbaijan as an autonomous oblast, a decision that Armenian political leaders and the public repeatedly sought to alter through petitions and complaints, starting in the 1930s. In the late Soviet period, a separatist movement developed that sought to end Azerbaijani control over the region. Fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh began in 1988 and escalated after Armenia and Azerbaijan declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. By the time a cease-fire took effect in May 1994, separatists, with Armenian support, controlled Nagorno‑Karabakh and seven surrounding Azerbaijani territories. constituting a total of 14 percent of Azerbaijan’s overall territory. Armenia and Azerbaijan engaged in a second military conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh in September-November 2020, as a result of which Armenia lost control over much of the territory it had captured a quarter-century earlier. Under the terms of a cease-fire agreement signed in November 2020, Armenia returned the territories around Nagorno-Karabakh and some parts of Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan and accepted the deployment of Russian peacekeepers to the remainder of the region. In September 2023, Azerbaijan took military action to regain control over Nagorno-Karabakh; following an armed conflict of approximately 24 hours, nearly the entire ethnic Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh fled to Armenia immediately afterwards.

Turkey closed its common border with Armenia in 1993 in support of Azerbaijan during the first period of conflict with Armenia and has maintained a closed border since then, leaving Armenia with closed borders both in the west (with Turkey) and east (with Azerbaijan). Armenia and Turkey engaged in intensive diplomacy to normalize their relations and open the border in 2009, but the signed agreement was not ratified in either country and became a dead letter in 2018, when Armenia officially withdrew its signature. In 2015, Armenia joined the Eurasian Economic Union alongside Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. In November 2017, Armenia signed a Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the EU.

In spring 2018, former President of Armenia (2008-18) Serzh SARGSIAN of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) tried to extend his time in power by becoming prime minister, prompting popular protests that became known as the “Velvet Revolution.” After SARGSIAN resigned, the leader of the protests, Civil Contract party chief Nikol PASHINYAN, was elected by the National Assembly as the new prime minister on 8 May 2018. PASHINYAN’s party has prevailed in subsequent legislative elections, most recently in June 2021. 

NOTE: The information regarding Armenia on this page is re-published from the 2024 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Armenia 2024 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Armenia 2024 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 04 May 24, Copyright © 2024 ITA all rights reserved.