a memorial for all wars: the Polynational War Memorial


Nagorno-Karabakh War

Years: 1990-2017
Battle deaths: 5,587 [1]
Onesided violence: 161 [2]

Nation(s) involved and/or conflict territory [note]
Azerbaijan, Armenia, Soviet Union

Published prior to 2013 | Updated: 2018-07-27 12:41:50
The Nagorno-Karabakh War refers to the armed conflict that took place from February 1988 to May 1994, in the small ethnic enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the ethnic Armenian majority in the enclave and in the neighboring Republic of Armenia. As the war progressed, Armenia and Azerbaijan, both former Soviet Republics, became enveloped in a protracted, undeclared war as the latter attempted to curb a secessionist movement in Nagorno-Karabakh. The enclave’s parliament had voted in favor of uniting itself with Armenia and a referendum was held with the vast majority of the Karabakh population voting in favor of independence. The demand to unify with Armenia, which proliferated in the late 1980s, began in a relatively peaceful manner; however, in the following months, as the Soviet Union’s disintegration neared, it gradually grew into an increasingly violent conflict between the two ethnic groups.

The war was the most destructive ethnic conflict in both terms of lives and property that emerged after the Soviet Union collapsed in December 1991. Interethnic fighting between the two broke out shortly after the parliament of Nagorno-Karabakh, an autonomous oblast in Azerbaijan, voted to unify the region with Armenia on February 20, 1988. Along with the secessionist movements in the Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, the succeeding movement characterized and played a large role in bringing the downfall of the Soviet Union. As Azerbaijan declared its independence from the Soviet Union and removed the powers held by the enclave’s government, the Armenian majority voted to secede from Azerbaijan, and in the process proclaimed the enclave the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Full-scale fighting erupted in the late winter of 1992. International mediation by several groups including Europe’s OSCE failed to bring an end resolution that both sides could work with. In the spring of 1993, Armenian forces captured regions outside the enclave itself, threatening the involvement of other countries in the region. By the end of the war in 1994, the Armenians were in full control of not only the mountainous enclave but also held and currently control approximately 14% of Azerbaijan’s territory. A Russian-brokered cease fire was signed in May of 1994 and peace talks, mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group, have been held ever since by Armenia and Azerbaijan.


Data Sources

[1] Battle deaths: UCDP Battle-Related Deaths Dataset v. 5-2017 (link) (1989-2017) #376 #388
Low: 5,058 High: 10,615

[2] UCDP One-sided Violence Dataset v. 1.4-2014 (1989-2013)(link) including actors: Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh
Low: 161 High: 763

More about sources


NOTE! Nation data for this war may be inconlusive or incomplete. In most cases it reflects which nations were involved with troops in this war, but in some it may instead reflect the contested territory.



Advertisment is a distraction, we know, but it helps us pay our ISP.