The Mountainous Karabakh Republic or Artsakh Republic is a de facto independent republic located in the Mountainous Karabakh region of the South Caucasus. It controls most of the territory of the former Mountainous Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) and several Azerbaijani (historically Armenian) districts adjacent to the borders of Azerbaijan with Armenia to the west and Iran to the south.
The predominantly Armenian-populated region of Mountainous Karabakh became disputed between Armenia and Azerbaijan when both countries gained independence from the Russian Empire in 1918. After the Soviet Union established control over the area, in 1923 it formed the Nagorno(Mountainous)-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) and forcibly placed it within the Azerbaijan SSR.
In the final years of the Soviet Union, the people of NKAO through an extraordinary expression of will, demanded reunification with Armenia. This action and the subsequent declaration of independence of the Republic of Mountainous Karabakh re-emerged as a source of dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan culminating in the Mountainous Karabakh War that was fought from 1991 to 1994.
On December 10, 1991, as the Soviet Union was dissolving, a referendum held in the NKAO and the neighboring Shahumian region resulted in a declaration of independence from Azerbaijan as the Mountainous Karabakh Republic. The country remains unrecognized by any UN-member state, including Armenia.
Since the ceasefire in 1994, representatives of the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been holding peace talks mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group.
Today, the Mountainous Karabakh Republic is a serious and reliable partner of the international community. MKR is committed to peace and stability in the region of the South Caucasus and shares the highest values of democracy and liberty and respect for human rights and freedoms. Despite the consequences of the war and blockade, MKR has made impressive progress on its path to post-war reconstruction and economic development as well as successful state and democracy-building. It has successfully rebuilt its infrastructure and reformed its economy to a free-market system.