Armenia – Country Profile
The Republic of Armenia, a former republic of the Soviet Union, is a landlocked mountainous country in the South Caucasus. Situated at the juncture of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, the Republic of Mountainous Karabakh and Azerbaijan to the east and Iran and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchevan to the south. It covers a territory of 29, 800 square km and its population is 3.1 million. It is a presidential republic and its capital Yerevan is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities of the world.
One of the world’s oldest civilizations, Armenia once included Mount Ararat, which biblical tradition identifies as the mountain that Noah’s ark rested on after the flood. It was the first country in the world to officially embrace Christianity as its religion in 301 A.D. After a brief independence of the Republic of Armenia, 1918-1920, the country was annexed by the Soviet army and on March 12, 1922 the Soviets joined Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan to form the Transcaucasian Soviet Socialist Republic, which became part of the USSR. In 1936, after reorganization, Armenia became a separate constituent republic of the USSR. Armenia declared its independence from the collapsing Soviet Union on Sept. 21, 1991.
An emerging democracy, Armenia is a member of more than 40 international organizations including the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the World Trade Organization, the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, the Asian Development Bank and La Francophonie. It is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) military alliance and also participates in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program.
Armenia is a unitary, multiparty, democratic nation state with an ancient and historic cultural heritage. According to the Constitution of Armenia, the President is the head of government and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. The unicameral parliament (National Assembly) is controlled by a coalition of three political parties: the Republican Party of Armenia, the Prosperous Armenia Party and the Rule of Law Party. The main opposition parties are the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun and the Heritage Party.
Between 1991-1994, Armenia was embroiled in a war with neighboring Azerbaijan over the Mountainous Region of Nagorno Karabakh (MKR). Today, MKR is an unrecognized independent state. Since the ceasefire in 1994, there have been ongoing negotiations mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group for the peaceful solution of the conflict.