The Fairy Tale
DECLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS REVEAL LONG-STANDING CIA
RECOGNITION THAT NAGORNO KARABAGH IS PART OF ARMENIA
-- Confidential Agency Studies Acknowledge Nagorno Karabagh
as "Armenia's Cultural and Religious Center" --
WASHINGTON, DC—An analysis of recently declassified Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents reveals
a pattern over the past twenty-five years of official - although confidential—acknowledgement of the
fact that Nagorno Karabagh is a historic part of Armenia, reported the Armenian National Committee of
The declassified documents - some from as back as the 1970s, confirm that successive U.S. Administrations
have known that:
1) Nagorno Karabagh is historically Armenian;
2) Nagorno Karabagh has always maintained a legitimate claim to be reunited with Armenia;
3) Azerbaijani hostility toward Armenians in the late 1980s and early 1990s was not based on an Azerbaijani
claim to Nagorno Karabagh, but, rather, was the outlet for growing domestic Azerbaijani frustrations
over political, economic and demographic shifts that increased the gap in living standards between
Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Key excerpts of these reports are provided below:
A 1990 CIA chronology of Nagorno Karabagh, prepared in August of 1990, included the following entry:
"1921-23: New Soviet Government makes Nagorno Karabakh - historically an Armenian area—an autonomous
region within the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan."
A CIA 1988 study on the Caucasus confirms the historical record of Nagorno Karabagh's status as
"Armenia's cultural and religious center." The study specifically noted that, "Karabakh through
the centuries remained semiautonomous under the rule of Armenian princes even when the rest of
Armenia was under Persian and Turkish tutelage."
The same 1988 study, reports that, "Azeri animosity toward the Armenians has been intensified
by political, economic, and demographic trends that have adversely affected the political status
of Azeris and increased the gap in living standards between Azerbaijan and Armenia. In particular,
the rapid expansion of Azerbaijan's young adult population has put enormous strains on the
republic's capacity to provide adequate jobs, housing, and education. Azeri frustration has
found an outlet in attacks on Armenians."
A 1978 CIA report on Soviet minorities issues, notes that, "the inhabitants of another turbulent
area in the Caucasus, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, are able to make a better argument
that their oblast should be transferred from one republic to another. The Karabakh Oblast is
part of Azerbaydzhan, yet over 80 percent of its population is Armenian and it lies close to
the border of the Armenian Republic. In 1975, according to the Azerbaydzhan Republic newspaper,
virtually the entire leadership of the Karabakh Oblast was ousted for supporting a movement to
detach the oblast from Azerbaydzhan and join it to Armenia."
To access images of these and other public CIA documents, visit: CIA Site